Massive blow as de Villiers brushes Big Bash
SOUTH African cricket superstar AB de Villiers has dealt the Big Bash a major blow by turning his back on the competition next summer.
At least five of the eight Big Bash franchises put in bids for De Villiers who, through his manager, signalled an intention to play next summer.
Cricket Australia tried to enhance the chances of De Villiers heading to Australia by topping up the offers with a significant cash boost.
But De Villiers has decided not to tour.
His decision is a blow to the Big Bash which was craving an injection of star power.
De Villiers retired from international cricket last year but remains one of the game's most respected players.
Spin bowlers Nathan Lyon said last week he felt a sense of helplessness bowling to De Villiers, who he felt "could hit me wherever he wanted to.''
In the early years of the Big Bash many top international players such as Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Shane Warne played in the competition but there is a feeling that the competition's payment levels are being outstripped by rival leagues sprouting up around the world.
The Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder were, with the Brisbane Heat, considered the frontrunners to sign De Villiers with Brisbane selling their offer on the region's lifestyle appeal.