South African cricket legend AB de Villiers has signed up for Brisbane Heat for Australia’s T20 tournament Big Bash League (BBL). The signing of the 35-year old player is one of the biggest in the nine-year history of the tournament and he will replace the void left by New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum who retired from the T20 circuit earlier this year.
During a career that spanned more than 13 years, De Villiers played 420 matches of international cricket, scoring more than 20,000 runs and 47 centuries, before calling time on his South Africa career shortly after the Test series against Australia in 2018. Even after retiring from international cricket, the former South Africa skipper has shown no signs of slowing down as he has been scoring runs in T20 competitions in India and England. In the IPL, playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he scored 442 runs at an average of 44.2 and a strike rate of 154. In England’s T20 Blast, he scored 348 runs at an average of 69.6 and a strike rate of 182.19. He is the highest run-scorer in the T20 format in 2019.
Reports emerged in April suggesting de Villiers had his sights set on joining Australia’s T20 competition but seemingly cooled on the idea just weeks later. However, the three-time one-day international ICC Player of the Year has changed his mind and will now feature in the T20 tournament starting from December 17. De Villiers has signed up for the second half of the tournament and will make his BBL debut when the Heat host the Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba on January 14.
Speaking to an Australian cricket website cricket.com.au, he said, “It’s one of the best tournaments around and I’ve been following it for a while now. From what I’ve heard from other players who have played there, it’s just all positives. The standard of cricket is good, and they get big crowds. I must also say the Brisbane Heat have always stood out to me. They play the kind of cricket that I want to play - it's quite aggressive and they go after the attack. And the Gabba is a beautiful cricket ground. It’s got a great wicket and games are always of high quality.”