Middlesex agree deal with South Africa icon De Villiers for this summer’s T20 Blast
PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 February 2019
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Legendary batsman set to light up Lord’s later this year
Former South Africa international AB De Villiers has signed to play for Middlesex in this season’s Vitality T20 Blast.
De Villiers, who retired from all forms of international cricket last May, is widely regarded as one of the best players of the modern era.
He will be available for Middlesex’s first seven T20 Blast matches and, if they qualify, could return for the latter stages of the competition.
The 35-year-old averaged 50.66 from 114 Tests, added to a remarkable one-day international average of 53.50 from his 228 matches. De Villiers boasts the record for the fastest ODI century, from just 31 balls against West Indies in 2015.
He has also excelled in the shortest form of the game, where he has continued to ply his trade around the world since announcing his shock retirement from international cricket, amassing over 7300 runs from 272 matches.
De Villiers will once again line up for Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s Indian Premier League and has recently starred in the Bangladesh Premier League - where he smashed a 50-ball century.
He told Middlesex’s website: “I have always wanted to play county cricket, and I am very much looking forward to joining Middlesex for the Vitality Blast.
“Playing at Lord’s is always a wonderful privilege, and I’m looking forward to the match at Richmond, a beautiful ground in south-west London. That will be a great experience.”
The South African’s devastating domestic T20 strike rate of 148.85 will make him an exciting addition to a Middlesex squad who have struggled in the Blast.
They finished bottom of the South Group last season and have named former West Indies coach Stuart Law as their head coach in all formats - meaning Daniel Vettori leaves his role at the helm of the T20 side.
Law said: “It’s a great opportunity for some of our younger players to pick the brain of one of the best players to have graced the game of cricket and for the support staff to work with him as well.
“I look forward to working with AB this season and can’t wait to watch one of my favourite modern day batsmen up close and personal.”
The signing of De Villiers is certainly a coup for Middlesex.