AB de Villiers: Middlesex sign former South Africa batsman for T20 Blast

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers has scored 48 T20 fifties and four hundreds

Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers will play for Middlesex in this summer's T20 Blast - his first stint in English county cricket.

The 35-year-old has signed up for Middlesex's first seven group matches, starting in July, but is also available for the tournament's latter stages.

De Villiers retired from international cricket in 2018, having scored more than 20,000 runs in all three formats.

"I have always wanted to play county cricket," De Villiers said.

"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."

De Villiers is one of the world's best-known Twenty20 players and has scored 7,316 runs in 272 games at a strike-rate of 148.85.

He has taken part in every Indian Premier League since it started in 2008, as well as numerous other T20 competitions across the world.

De Villiers will line up alongside teenage Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Middlesex's other overseas signing for the tournament.

"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," head coach Stuart Law said.

"I look forward to working with AB this season and can't wait to watch one of my favourite modern-day batsman up close and personal."

The other T20 Blast 'superstars'

De Villiers is the latest high-profile name to make his debut in the T20 Blast.

In 2015, West Indies batsman Chris Gayle scored 328 runs in three innings for Somerset, including 151 not out against Kent. The leading T20 run-scorer of all time was relatively disappointing the following season, making 177 runs for the Taunton county in five knocks.

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, the second-highest run-scorer in T20 history, amassed 305 runs in eight innings for Birmingham Bears in 2015. His unbeaten 158 against Derbyshire was the highest-ever T20 Blast score, before Adam Lyth set a new mark of 161 for Yorkshire in 2017.

McCullum also played 15 matches for Middlesex in 2016 and 2017.

The 2019 T20 Blast starts on 18 July, with Finals Day at Edgbaston on 21 September.

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