Cricket great AB de Villiers says he “couldn’t say no” to the opportunity of joining Brisbane Heat in what is a massive signing for the Big Bash competition.
Heat have pulled off a massive Big Bash coup after it was confirmed the former South Africa captain would be joining the side for the second half of the 2019/20 season.
The legendary Proteas batsman has amassed more than 20,000 international runs across all formats of the game.
In a move described by cricket.com.au as a "bombshell", de Villiers will take his place as one of the biggest drawcards of the new BBL season.
The 35-year-old will effectively replace former Heat captain, Brendon McCullum, who retired at the end of last season.
De Villiers - who has scored 47 international centuries over a 13-year career - said the opportunity to link up with Brisbane was too good to refuse.
“You go through moments after retirement when you’re really keen to play, then you just want to be at home,” de Villiers said.
“It’s really difficult to balance that out. Time spent at home and time away, so I’m very selective of where I play at the moment, and the body is getting a bit older so I can’t play too much.
“I like to be at home over the Christmas and New year period, but I couldn’t say no to coming to Brisbane and joining in on the fun.
“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.
Proteas great brings wealth of experience to Heat
“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 a high quality.”
The addition of de Villiers will bring crucial experience to the side, following the retirement of New Zealand great and former captain, McCullum.
The Proteass great says new Heat mentor and former Australia coach Darren Lehmann was key to his signing with the Brisbane outfit.
“I was in close contact with Darren over email and that was a big part of the reason why I am coming over (to the BBL),” de Villiers said.
“He certainly pushed me over the edge. He’s a great guy and I am sure we will get to know each other well over the tournament.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for the way he played his game and the way he handled everything when he was with the Aussie team, and I am sure I can learn a bit from him with my batting.”
De Villiers is set to debut for the Heat in the January 14 clash against the Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba.
Current Heat squad: Chris Lynn (c), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson, Jack Prestwidge, Matthew Renshaw, James Pattinson, Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (AFG), Zahir Khan (AFG), AB de Villiers (SA).