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.
“Lynny noted that when he was playing for the Knight Riders against AB in the RCB team that he was outstanding in how he worked with his teammates - very selfless and eager to play for the team.”
“I’m certain our young players will learn some important insights into how to play as individuals but also achieve success as a squad,’’ he said.
“He’s played almost 300 T20 games and excelled all over the world so we know he has the skills and the mental toughness to come into our club and make a positive impact.’’
Brisbane Heat General Manager Andrew McShea said the club had identified de Villiers as a key recruit in the wake of Brendon McCullum’s decision to bring down the curtain on his career with Brisbane at the end of BBL|08.
“Legends of the game like ‘Baz’ and Matthew Hayden have all contributed enormously to the Heat and the BBL during their time with us and we are delighted a player of AB’s standing has committed to joining the club,’’ he said.
“The club and our fans look forward to welcoming him to the Gabba and we are confident he will provide them with plenty of entertainment during his time with the Heat.”
McShea confirmed that de Villiers would be available for the second half of the BBL season, potentially playing six games as well as being available for the Finals should the Heat qualify.
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