AB de Villiers has decided to skip the upcoming Big Bash League campaign with Brisbane Heat due to family and COVID-19 related issues.
Uncertainty around international travel restrictions as De Villiers and his wife prepare for the birth of their third child played a significant role in the former South Africa batsman pulling out.
The 36-year-old scored 146 runs in six appearances in the 2019-20 BBL – the first time he had participated in the competition – as the Heat failed to qualify for the finals for the third time in succession.
De Villiers, who is currently participating in the Indian Premier League, hopes to get another chance to play for Brisbane as he feels there is “unfinished business”.
“We’re expecting our latest child very soon and with a young, growing family and the uncertainty around travel conditions due to COVID-19, we reluctantly decided it wasn’t going to be this season,” De Villiers said.
“The Heat were great to us last season and I am very open to returning to the club in future. The team didn’t get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with.”
“Unfinished business”, hey?
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) October 27, 2020
Heat head coach Darren Lehmann added: “We’ve been in regular contact with AB since last season and while things initially looked fine for him to come back, there have been a few factors emerge which have changed everyone’s plans.
“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.”
There was some positive news for the Heat on Tuesday, however, as they announced the return of spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the world number two T20I bowler, for the 2020-21 BBL.
The Big Bash League is due to start on December 3 with a clash between Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades.