BBL clubs in frenzy to land de Villiers

23 May 2018

One of T20's most destructive batsmen, South Africa superstar AB de Villiers could now be bound for the BBL

AB de Villiers' shock retirement announcement has put the KFC Big Bash League clubs on red alert, with the South African now a distinct possibility to feature in this summer's tournament and beyond.

The 34-year-old today announced his immediate retirement from all forms of international cricket, but would continue to play domestic cricket.

"It's not about earning more somewhere else, it's about running out of gas and feeling that it is the right time to move on," de Villiers said in his retirement announcement.

"After 114 Test matches, 228 ODI's and 78 T20 Internationals, it is time for others to take over. I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired.

"This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I'd like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time to step aside."

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De Villiers said he intended to make himself available for the Titans in South Africa's domestic cricket competitions, and had been a standout performer in a disappointing season for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

He has been linked to Big Bash clubs previously, but international commitments have scuppered those plans.

Now, with international cricket off the agenda, Big Bash clubs with an available international spot will be quickly reassessing their plans.

Clubs that would seem to be out of the running for the Proteas legend's services include defending champions the Adelaide Strikers, who have locked in Colin Ingram and Rashid Khan for BBL|08, and the Brisbane Heat who have Kiwi Brendon McCullum and Pakistan spinner Shadab Khan on their books.

However, with Pakistan set to spend a large chunk of the 2018-19 summer in South Africa - a three-format tour that will stretch from December 19-February 6 - they may have need of an international replacement player, and they have a strong link to de Villiers with Heat coach Daniel Vettori also in charge of RCB in the IPL.

And Heat star Chris Lynn has wasted no time letting de Villiers knew he'd be welcome in a line-up already containing the Bash Brothers.

The Hobart Hurricanes also have Joffra Archer and Tymal Mills already signed up, but with South African coach Gary Kirsten having a close connection to de Villiers, the club might well look through their existing contracts with a fine tooth comb.

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The Perth Scorchers last season opted for just the one international in England allrounder David Willey, and the club is highly secretive about their contract list, making it hard to gauge their potential to make a play for de Villiers.

That leaves the two clubs from Melbourne and Sydney to chase a player who would become a marquee signing for the competition.

The Renegades last year had Dwayne Bravo and Mohammad Nabi, but have yet to confirm either for BBL|08, among rumours the club had parted ways with Bravo.

The Stars have two vacancies on their books, following the retirement of Kevin Pietersen and de-listing of Luke Wright.

The Sydney Thunder are expected to heavily court Jamaican Andre Russell for a return to the club this summer, but that has not been confirmed, while their second international spot remains wide open.

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Perhaps the most well positioned club is the Sydney Sixers. Last season they opted for Englishmen Jason Roy and Sam Billings as their imports before they were called away on international duty, and were replaced by Carlos Brathwaite and Joe Denly. The Sixers have also seen Nic Maddinson depart for the Stars.

The BBL will this summer expand to a full home-and-away 59-game season, including finals. The BBL|08 schedule has not been confirmed but could extend later in to the summer. De Villiers international retirement would mean any club who signed him could expect to have him for the full tournament.

Or, if he chose to split his time between South Africa and Australia, he could join a Big Bash club as an international replacement player, which would put all eight clubs back in the running.

De Villiers said he was stepping away from all three formats for the Proteas because "it would not be right for me to pick and choose where, when and in what format I play".

"For me, in the green and gold, it must be everything or nothing. I will always be grateful to the coaches and staff of Cricket South Africa for their support through all these years," de Villiers said.

Filed Under

Adelaide Strikers Men

Brisbane Heat Men

Hobart Hurricanes Men

Melbourne Renegades Men

Melbourne Stars Men

Perth Scorchers

South Africa Men

Sydney Sixers Men

Sydney Thunder Men

AB de Villiers