Brisbane Heat sign AB de Villiers for Big Bash League
AB de Villiers is all set to make his debut in the Big Bash League after signing with Brisbane Heat for the second half of the upcoming season.
The former South Africa skipper will replace another legend of the game Brendon McCullum, who announced his retirement from competitive cricket earlier this year, in the Brisbane line-up.
The 35-year-old had shown interest in participating in the previous season of the BBL but backed out of signing a contract with any franchise.
De Villiers, highly regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in world cricket, will be available for selection in the second half of the eight-team competition including the finals should the Heat make it to the knockout stages.
The arrival of de Villiers delighted Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann who deemed it as a rare opportunity to work with a player of such supreme caliber.
"World-class players don't just come along every day and to have a player of AB's stature and skill in the BBL is a fantastic outcome for everyone, not just the Heat," he said.
"He's a 360-degree player, great skills, outstanding temperament and an insightful leader."
'They play the brand of cricket I want to be associated with'
De Villiers represented the Proteas in 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is in an illustrious career that spanned 14 years before bidding farewell to international cricket in 2018.
He was recently linked with a shock revelation regarding his willingness to come out of retirement ahead of South Africa's World Cup campaign.
De Villiers is currently the leading run-getter in T20 cricket in 2019 with 25 runs more than Pakistan's Babar Azam.
He had a stellar season with the bat for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year's Indian Premier League managing to rack up 442 runs at an impressive average of 44.20 and a steep strike rate of 154.
The maverick batsman claimed he made the decision to join Brisbane Heat by assessing their aggressive brand of cricket.
"They play the kind of brand that I want to be associated with. It's quite aggressive, they go after the attack, and I'm looking forward to going to the Gabba," he said.
"It's a beautiful cricket field. It's a great wicket and games are always of high quality."
De Villiers also shed light on his discussions with the Heat captain Chris Lynn during the IPL, which convinced him to opt for this BBL side.
“I’ve spoken to Chris a few times after games in the IPL. I always enjoy the way he plays the game, he really goes after the bowling, he attacks the game, and he seems like a really good teammate.
“He gives his best shot for the boys. I’m looking forward to joining forces with him,” he added.