South African batsman AB de Villiers will not return to the Brisbane Heat for the 2020-21 Big Bash League in Australia.
De Villiers played six matches for the Heat during the 2019-20 BBL and is currently with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
“While things initially looked fine for him to come back, there have been a few factors emerge which have changed everyone's plans,” said Heat coach Darren Lehmann.
“The main one, aside from the challenges represented by Covid-19 and international travel, is that AB and his wife Danielle are expecting their third child very soon.
“Naturally we're very pleased for them and know that the next few months will be a very special time for all. We'll stay in contact and see what develops. He has been in excellent touch in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, so he obviously remains a player we'd like to keep working with when the circumstances allow.”
De Villiers Wants to Return
Former Proteas captain de Villiers has represented several domestic T20 franchises since retiring from international cricket in 2018. He has expressed interest in eventually rejoining Brisbane.
“It's exciting for Danielle and me with the arrival of our new baby very soon. So with a young, growing family, and the uncertainty around travel and conditions due to Covid-19, we reluctantly decided it wasn't going to be this season,” added de Villiers.
“The Heat were great to us last summer and I am very open to returning to the club in the future. The team didn't get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with.”
Mujeeb Rejoins Brisbane Heat
The Brisbane franchise, meanwhile, have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman. He was with the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League earlier this year – and is in the Kings XI Punjab for the ongoing IPL.
“Mujeeb is doing a lot of the little things as well as anyone, and his control and maturity have gone to a new level, I believe,” added Lehmann.
“He was outstanding in the Caribbean Premier League recently when he was the second leading wicket-taker in the competition, and he's shown in the IPL that he can handle the very best.
“We're very pleased to have him back with us and with the BBL schedule potentially looking quite different to the usual format, his versatility and ability to create chances in a range of conditions will be very important for us.”