SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 29: AB de Villiers of Middlesex bats during the Vitality Blast match between Hampshire and Middlesex at Ageas Bowl on August 29, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Brisbane Heat have announced one of the biggest signings in Big Bash history, with South African batting great AB de Villiers to join the franchise for this summer.

The 35-year-old legend has joined the Heat as a marquee for the second half of BBL09, replacing Kiwi icon Brendon McCullum in the slot following his Twenty20 retirement between campaigns.

With a strike rate of 154 in the Indian Premier League, boasting 442 runs in 10 innings, later adding 348 runs at 69.6 with a huge 182.2 in England’s T20 Blast competition, the retired international Test star continues to deliver strongly in the shortest form of the game.

“I like to be at home over the Christmas and New Year period, but I couldn’t say no to coming to Brisbane and joining in on the fun,” de Villiers told cricket.com.au from his home in Pretoria.

“From what I’ve heard from other players who have played there, it’s just all positives. The standard of cricket is good, and they get big crowds.”

Having announced his departure from South African Test cricket in 2018 after the home series that rocked the Australian game to its core, de Villiers brings an impeccable pedigree and commands a deep respect in the game of cricket.

McCullum may have also helped lure the man known as ‘Mr. 360’ to the Big Bash competition with his glowing praise for the wicket at The Gabba, having previously referred to the ground as the best T20 wicket anywhere in the world.

The Heat should surge up the markets ahead of BBL09 on the back of this signing as a potential partnership with walking highlight reel Chris Lynn looms large for opposing bowlers.