AFL contract news, drama in the cricket and a look ahead to next decade for both rugby codes headlines Episode 68 of The Roar’s Game of Codes podcast.
South African great AB de Villiers will make his Big Bash League debut this summer after signing with Brisbane Heat for the second half of their campaign.
The former Proteas captain will be available for the Heat from January, with the finals included in his contract.
The 35-year-old averaged more than 50 with the bat in 114 Tests and 228 ODIs, and has 295 Twenty 20 games to his credit during his outstanding career.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he was delighted to have added a player of de Villiers’ quality for BBL09.
“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.”
De Villiers, who retired from international cricket last year, piled on 442 runs at a strike rate of 154 – including five half centuries – for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s IPL.
More recently, he scored 348 runs at an average of 69.6 and posted a strike rate of 182.19 in England’s T20 Blast.
De Villiers said the decision to join the Heat was an easy one.
“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 travelling 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 said conversations with Heat’s former New Zealand star Brendon McCullum and the chance to play alongside Chris Lynn had convinced him to play in the Australian 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,” he said.
“He gives his best shot for the boys. I’m looking forward to joining forces with him,” de Villiers said.