AB delivers bombshell after stunning BBL debut
AB de Villiers revealed he is set to come out of international retirement for this year's T20 World Cup in Australia after piloting the Brisbane Heat to a thumping seven - wicket win against the Adelaide Strikers.
De Villiers opened his Big Bash career with an ultra-cool 40 (32 balls) at the Gabba on Tuesday as the Heat coasted to a comfortable win to rocket into the top four of the BBL.
And the South African legend dropped a bombshell afterwards by confirming his desire to return to the Proteas for the first time in two years.
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De Villiers, 35, retired from international cricket in May, 2018, after scoring more than 20,000 runs in the three forms of the game.
South African cricket has been torn apart by political in-fighting in recent years, but the appointment of ex-Test stars Graeme Smith (director of cricket) and Mark Boucher (coach) in December has revived de Villiers' desire to represent his country.
Australia will host the T20 World Cup in October-November and de Villiers said he wanted to pull on the green and gold of South Africa again in what would be a fairy tale comeback.
"There's a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality (but) I would love to," he said.
"I've been talking to Bouch, Graeme Smith and Faf (du Plessis, captain) back home. We're all keen to make it happen.
"It's a long way away still and plenty can happen. There is the IPL coming up and I've still got to be in form by that time.
"I'm thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping everything will work out. It's not a guarantee, I don't want to disappoint myself or other people.
"For now I'm going to try to keep a low profile and play the best possible cricket I can. We'll see what happens towards the end of the year."
De Villiers proved he is far from a spent force in T20 arena after producing an impeccable innings in front of 19,681 at the Gabba.
While Test bowler James Pattinson starred for the Heat with a sizzling 5-33, all eyes were on de Villiers in his Big Bash debut. And boy, did he deliver.
Needing only 111 for victory, the Heat got off to a typical Heat start as captain Chris Lynn departed for a golden duck before Max Bryant (10) joined him to leave Brisbane sitting precariously at 2-11.
Less than 48 hours after touching down in Brisbane, de Villiers strode to the crease and wasted no time proving why he is still regarded as one of the world's top batsmen.
This was the type of innings the Heat had been searching for all summer - cool, calm and calculated.
De Villiers, 35, has been labelled the biggest signing in Big Bash history and on first glance he could be the man to lead Brisbane to its second tournament title.
De Villiers holed out in the deep to spinner Liam O'Connor with the Heat needing 23 from 47 balls, but was beautifully supported by Matt Renshaw, whose unbeaten 52 (45 balls) helped the Heat chase down Adelaide's 110 in 15.2 overs.
"It was quite a big hype coming in here, I was definitely not expecting that," de Villiers said.
"I want to contribute and leave a legacy in the team room more than the rest. That comes first.
"If I entertain the crowds by doing that it's a bonus and fantastic. I'm not a guy that thinks about entertaining crowds, I just want to do my best.
"I had a really nice experience here - I haven't played here for a long time. It's great to be back here in front of my so-called home crowd now."
The Heat have a return bout against the Strikers in Adelaide on Friday before hosting the winless Renegades at the Gabba on Sunday, a match which could sell-out following the debut of de Villiers.