Dale Steyn could make his mark on the KFC Big Bash League after his Test retirement and subsequent snub from South Africa’s T20 side opened the door to a maiden stint in this summer's competition.
The 36-year-old announced his retirement from the longest format last week after 93 Tests and 439 wickets, but confirmed his desire to keep playing limited-overs cricket for the Proteas.
Yet Steyn was a surprise omission from South Africa’s T20 squad that will play three matches against India in September, taking to social media to point out he had been available for selection.
"I did (make myself available) … Obviously lost my number in the reshuffling of coaching staff," Steyn tweeted, referencing Cricket South Africa’s recent changes to their coaching structure which included the axing of head coach Otis Gibson.
Steyn’s tweet had been in response to South African journalist Neil Manthorp, who had pointed out CSA’s confirmation that allrounder Chris Morris had not made himself available for selection for the tour.
With Steyn’s future with the Proteas under a cloud, it could pave the way for him to play in the Big Bash with the pace ace now potentially available for the majority of the regular season.
"I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport," Steyn said in his retirement announcement.
"It’s terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what’s more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all."
It could also mark the start of a heavy South African influence on the competition, with fellow former Proteas quick Morne Morkel, the recently-retired Hashim Amla all available for BBL deals.
Morris could also be on the market, though CSA's acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl recently insisted the Proteas' leading wicket taker at the recent World Cup still wants to play for his country.
The Melbourne Renegades already have two overseas players locked in, and the Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers are understood to be close to announcing their second internationals.
It’s understood the Hobart Hurricanes are not interested in making a play for Steyn, despite the likelihood that they may need to find a replacement for star overseas quick Jofra Archer after breaking into England squads in all three formats in recent months.
South Africa are scheduled to host England for a four-Test series this summer that begins with a Boxing Day clash at Centurion. With the Tests not concluding until January 29 and a three-match ODI series starting soon after on February 2, Archer is almost certain to be unavailable for the entire BBL|09 season.
The Adelaide Strikers are set to pursue a batsman following the exit of Colin Ingram.
That leaves the Perth Scorchers, notoriously secretive of their squad contract status, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars as potential suitors for Steyn.
Steyn had in fact signed with the Heat back in BBL02 before having his stint blocked at the eleventh hour by his domestic side Cape Cobras, while the Stars are understood to be on the lookout for an overseas bowler.
Neither the Heat nor the Stars have announced overseas signings for BBL09, with clubs this summer given the flexibility to add up to six international players to their roster across the season.
Clubs are entitled to have a maximum of two overseas players on their 18-man roster, although they can now nominate an additional four overseas players as potential replacements throughout the course of the BBL|09 season.
The ninth season of the BBL starts on December 17. Public tickets go on sale Thursday.