Superstar de Villiers drops BBL bombshell
The Brisbane Heat have pulled off the signing coup of the summer, inking a deal with AB de Villiers to bring the South African batting wizard to the Big Bash League.
De Villiers will join the team in the second half of the BBL season, potentially playing the final six games of the regular season while also being available for finals should the Heat qualify.
The 35-year-old is one of the greatest batsmen of his generation and has been an in-demand figure for Twenty20 leagues around the world.
However his signature has always eluded BBL franchises. Until now.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann couldn't hide his excitement at landing the monster signing.
"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."
While the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Heat have long been considered the league's glamour clubs, with the biggest pulling power when it comes to high-profile imports, de Villiers said joining the Heat was a no-brainer.
"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."
In adding de Villiers, the Heat will now possess the league's most devastating one-two punch at the top of its batting order - with the King of the BBL, Chris Lynn, already regarded as the most destructive player in the competition.
"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," de Villiers said.
"He gives his best shot for the boys. I'm looking forward to joining forces with him."
The Heat were the first club to approach de Villiers but he withdrew from negotiations after being swamped by other offers.