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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

AB de Villiers back in action, makes BBL debut for Brisbane Heat

AB de Villiers, who arrived in Brisbane on Sunday night, didn't waste any time as he was seen training with his teammates on Monday afternoon.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: January 14, 2020 11:40:44 am
AB de Villiers is all set to make his Big Bash League (BBL) debut. (Source: Twitter/HeatBBL)

Former South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers made his Big Bash League (BBL) debut in the clash between Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat on Tuesday. The swashbuckling cricketer was presented with a Brisbane Heat cap by former Aussie cricketer Andrew Symonds before the start of the match.

De Villiers, who arrived in Brisbane on Sunday night, didn’t waste any time as he was seen training with his teammates on Monday afternoon. The 35-year-old cricketer stated that he has keenly followed the Heat campaign so far from South Africa and is eager to make his contribution to the side.

In his latest stint for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League, De Villiers amassed 325 runs batting at a strike rate of over 150. Speaking on his recent form, the South African cricketer was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying: “I felt in some of the best form of my career. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that in this tournament.”

“I know what’s required of me to make a play for the team. There’s been some standout performances from the Heat this season and I think the team is in a really good place,” he added.

On sharing the dressing room with Chris Lynn, who’s renowned for his hard-hitting abilities, De Villiers stated, “We know each other from chatting at IPL but it’s an interesting dynamic with two players at the crease, it either works or it doesn’t. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to work and be very nice to watch. Hopefully, I’ll do most of the watching at the non-striker’s end.”

Heat are currently at the sixth position on the BBL table, after losing four out of the eight matches they’ve played so far in this edition. However, DE Villiers asserted that he’s ready for the challenge despite burdened with the enormous responsibility on his shoulders.

“I always (feel pressure). Wherever I play around the world, either a club game or the World Cup semi-finals, I feel the same kind of pressure, the pressure I put on myself to perform at the best of my ability,” De Villiers said.

“This is no different, but I’ve done it so many times. It doesn’t guarantee success but I know what to expect. The butterflies I’m getting in my stomach is a good sign. All I can do is go out and enjoy myself and hopefully have an impact on the game with the batting.”

“Then there’s the fielding and all the off-field stuff as well. I’ve got a big role to play as an individual not just as a cricketer and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he concluded.

In other team news, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be playing his first BBL match of this edition. The 18-year-old has been roped in the Playing XI in place of his countryman Zahir Khan. Mujeeb, who was highly economical considering the nature of the format, scalped 15 wickets in 12 matches in the Bangladesh Premier League.

However, the Heat will miss the services of star bowler Ben Laughlin, who has been left out after the 37-year-old suffered a bruised heel. He is expected to be fit for Friday’s rematch with the Strikers in Adelaide.

PLAYING XIs:

Brisbane Heat: Max Bryant, Ben Cutting, Chris Lynn (c), AB de Villiers, Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns, James Peirson (wk), James Pattinson, Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Adelaide Strikers: Jake Weatherald, Phil Salt, Travis Head (c), Jon Wells, Harry Nielsen (wk), Matt Short, Michael Neser, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Harry Conway, Liam O’Connor.

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