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.
Brisbane have secured the Big Bash League services of one of England’s brightest emerging talents, revealing Tom Banton as their latest addition on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old smashed 549 runs at a strike rate of 161 for Somerset in England’s T20 Blast competition, finishing the tournament second on the run-scoring list and earning an international T20 call-up to next month’s tour of New Zealand.
England’s reigning young cricketer of the year will occupy a top-order spot at the Heat for the tournament’s first eight games, before South African great AB de Villiers effectively replaces him for the final six games and a potential finals series.
Afghanistan spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan are Brisbane’s international recruits for the summer, while South African quick Dale Steyn committed to the Melbourne Stars earlier on Wednesday.
Banton scored a 51-ball century against Kent during the Blast and is rated highly by Heat coach Darren Lehmann.
“He was the talk of English cricket during their season,” he said.
“Outside the Ashes, Tom was the player that a lot of people were really excited to be watching, and with good reason.”
A former teammate of Heat batsman Matthew Renshaw, Banton said he was still pinching himself after a whirlwind home summer.
“If you had asked me at the start of the summer would I imagine it going like this, I would have probably had a laugh and suggested you weren’t serious,” he said.
“I was blown away when it was announced last week that AB was coming to join the Heat so what was already going to be a huge experience just got bigger.”