Big Bash teams on alert over De Villiers' availability


Big Bash League sides could be sparked into a bidding war to secure the services of South Africa captain AB de Villiers next year, despite the batsman only recently taking charge of the Test team.

De Villiers assumed the responsibility of captain after Hashim Amla stepped down in the aftermath of the second Test against England, but has routinely refused to commit his long-term future to the longest format of the game.

Picked as wicketkeeper for the first Test, De Villiers has spoken of his desire to lessen his workload - with a Test retirement mooted.

Sydney Thunder have been reported to hold a strong interest in the 31-year-old, who has starred in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

"We'd love to have him, every team in the competition would love to have him," Thunder captain Mike Hussey is quoted as saying by ABC. "All the other clubs would be having a word with him as well.

"We've got a bit of a South African connection with our coach Paddy Upton and Jacques Kallis has been here, so hopefully we can have the inside running and they can let AB know what a good place the Thunder is to play."

Sydney Sixers' South African spinner Johan Botha also talked up his hopes of persuading his superstar compatriot into a Big Bash deal.

"He's just focused on the next two Tests and he'll take it from there," Botha said.

"He wants to spend more time with his family so whatever way he's going to do that is up to him and his management.

"I sent him a text before the Test saying 'good luck with being captain' and that, but I said 'If you're free next December, we'd love to have you'."