Pakistan Super League 2018

De Villiers opens door for Big Bash

Proteas legend's decision to play in Pakistan Super League could pave way to a BBL stint this summer

Dave Middleton

07 September 2018, 10:13 PM

Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has agreed to play in the Pakistan Super League next February, ending his self-imposed international exile.

De Villiers, one of the world's finest batsmen who retired from international cricket earlier this year, will be the star attraction for the fourth Pakistan Super League player draft ahead of the tournament that will be played next February-March.

De Villiers remains firmly on the radar of several Big Bash League clubs but is yet to agree terms. He has been heavily courted around the world since stepping away from the Proteas, and the PSL marks the first new domestic T20 tournament in which he has agreed to take the field.

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De Villiers previously said he had "no plans to play overseas" – other than his highly lucrative IPL deal with Royal Challengers Bangalore – but the PSL deal indicates the Proteas legend is ready to resume playing after taking an extended time away from the game.

And that could conceivably open the door to de Villiers making an appearance in BBL|08.

With an extended 59-game BBL season requiring several teams to swap international players midway through the tournament because of national playing commitments, de Villiers could yet take up a replacement player deal in January and February.

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The BBL|08 season ends on February 10 with the finals to be played in the following seven days, with the PSL expected to follow soon after.

For example, the Sydney Thunder have signed England duo Joe Root and Jos Buttler to open their season with, but both players will exit the club to join England's tour of the West Indies in early January.

The Brisbane Heat parted ways with Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan due to his expected national commitments while both Melbourne clubs, the Stars and Renegades, and the Sydney Sixers have international spots unconfirmed.               

"The Pakistan Super League has grown into one of the top T20 tournaments around the world," de Villiers said on a video post announcing his decision to join the tournament.

"It has given Pakistanis much to cheer about. I've certainly enjoyed watching some of the PSL games on television in recent years.

"In 2019 I will be participating in the PSL. I certainly can't wait."

De Villiers did not make clear if he would be prepared to travel to Pakistan to play in the 2019 PSL Final. The tournament is expected to again be held primarily in the UAE as in previous years, with the final played in Lahore and Karachi for the past two seasons.

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