The Brisbane Heat will welcome one of the world’s premier batsmen to the KFC Big Bash League this summer with South African great AB de Villiers agreeing to play in the BBL for the first time.
His management confirmed overnight that the former Proteas captain would join the Heat for the second half of BBL|09, with finals included in his contract.
The 35-year-old brings enormous experience with his impeccable batting credentials, playing 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 295 T20 games in his career at the time of signing.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he was over the moon to have the chance to work with de Villiers for the first time.
“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. We’re excited to bring him into the group this summer and allow him to showcase his skills for the fans.”
His most recent stint for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s Indian Premier League demonstrated his T20 value, scoring 442 runs at a strike rate of 154 including five 50-plus scores.
Likewise, he made a significant impact for Middlesex in the recent Vitality Blast T20 competition, scoring four half centuries in eight innings. At the time of signing, he was the leading T20 runs-scorer in 2019 with 1255 runs ahead of Pakistan’s Babar Azam (1230 runs).
De Villiers said the decision to join the Heat for the BBL was straight-forward.
“The Heat have always stood out to me,’’ he told brisbaneheat.com.au.
“Brisbane is a lovely city – I’ve been there a few times before traveling with the South African team. I love the place, I love the weather. It’s similar to Pretoria where I’m from.”
“They play the kind of cricket that I want to be associated with. It’s quite aggressive. They go after the attack. And the Gabba, it’s a beautiful cricket field. It’s a great wicket and games are always of a high quality.”
De Villers revealed he had spoken with Brendon McCullum about the Heat and expressed his delight at playing alongside Chris Lynn.
“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,” de Villiers said.
Lehmann said Heat captain Chris Lynn had also spoke glowingly of de Villiers as an opponent during the recent IPL.
© Brisbane Heat