AB de Villiers likely to play in BBL; could miss India series
What's the story?
According to reports in Daily Telegraph, Former Big Bash League champions Sydney Thunder are in discussions with South African batsman AB de Villiers to replace West Indian all-rounder Andre Russel for the upcoming edition of BBL.
Russell was banned for one year after being found guilty of a doping whereabouts violation and had his contract terminated by the Thunder immediately.
This makes Thunder look for at least one more international superstar with de Villiers, Eoin Morgan and Carlos Brathwaite emerging as possible targets.
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Earlier this year, Russell was banned from playing cricket by an independent anti-doping panel for one year after violating doping codes. He failed to file his whereabouts for three doping tests and now finds himself out of the game till at least January 2018.
Russell had been an integral part of the Thunder set-up and played an integral role in their title triumph in the 2015/16 season. Two out of the three frontrunners for the role of Russell's replacements, Brathwaite and Morgan have already played for Thunder in the past.
De Villiers's close relationship with the club's South African coach is one of the main reasons why the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman is expected to play in the BBL.
There were reports that De Villiers is believed to have informed the CSA that he will be hanging up his shoes in the longest format of the game last year but was persuaded to stay on for an extra year.
De Villiers, who has not been a part of the South African Test team for a while, is unlikely to play in the Test series against India that is likely to get underway in the first week of 2018 if he is to play in the BBL.
AB de Villiers is one of the most devastating batsmen in this format and is a blessing in disguise for any captain to have in his team. Barring the one good season in which they won the title, Thunder have been the perennial underachievers of the BBL. The inclusion of the right-hander will make them a force to reckon with.
As far as his participation in the Test series against India in 2018 is concerned, the South African Test team is already packed and all the batsmen are doing their job to perfection. The inclusion of De Villiers will only force the team management to drop a player from the XI, something that is very unfair to the player who will sit out in spite of doing well in the past few months.