Heat on CA to splash cash and seal AB deal
Cricket Australia may need to delve into its own coffers to lure South African superstar AB de Villiers to Australia with the Brisbane Heat vying with a pack of clubs for his prized signature.
De Villiers' manager has contacted Cricket Australia to alert them his client is interested in playing in next season's Big Bash.
At this stage there are only two certainties … he would not stay for the full two-month tournament and he would not come cheap.
The type of financial challenge that Big Bash clubs face to lure de Villiers to Australia was reinforced when he bypassed last season's competition to play in the Bangladesh Premier League where he was paid more than $200,000 for a handful of matches in a short season.
Many high profile Big Bash stars get no more than $150,000 for twice as much work.
At a recent meeting of Big Bash and state bosses it was agreed the competition needed more star power and every effort must be made to entice players like de Villiers.
The Heat have been interested in de Villiers for several seasons but face stiff opposition, particularly from powerful Sydney and Melbourne-based teams.
Should he link with Brisbane, de Villiers would be coached by Darren Lehmann and the two would have much to talk about because de Villiers was the South African player who alerted television broadcasters to the fact that the Australian team was tampering with the ball during last year's Test series.
Lehmann, who insists he did not know Australian fieldsmen were using sandpaper on the ball, re-signed as Australian coach after that series and claims he will never coach at international level again.
It is not common for Cricket Australia to top up overseas player contracts but under special circumstances it has been done.
It is likely the successful bidder - if there is one - will also need third party support such as a television deal to make the figure appealing enough for de Villiers to come to Australia.
De Villiers, 35, is seen as a one of the greatest players of his generation with a technique which could absorb and defy a top-class Test attack on a sticky wicket or pound them into submission when conditions favoured him.
One of his nicknames - Mr 360 - was a tribute to his ability to hit shots to all parts of the ground.
One of the attractions of bringing him to Australia was the hope he could show emerging Australian batsmen some of the secrets in successfully floating across the different forms of the game.