Sydney Thunder Target AB de Villiers As Andre Russell's Replacement

Australia’s Big Bash League outfit Sydney Thunder are reportedly keen to secure the services of South Africa and Royal Challengers Bangalore superstar AB de Villiers for the upcoming season. With West Indies star Andre Russell’s contract with the Thunder terminated due to drugs violations, The Daily Telegraph has reported the Sydney-based outfit could reignite its interest for de Villiers.

Russell, who plies his trade for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, was suspended by an independent Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel in January this year for breaching a whereabouts regulation on three occasions in a one-year period in 2015. The ban, which came into effect on January 31, 2016, was set to end on January 30, 2018.

Sydney Thunder Target AB de Villiers As Andre Russell's Replacement
Credits: Getty

Along with the suspension, Thunder immediately terminated Russell’s second year of contract and are looking to add at least one more international star to their lineup with de Villiers, Eoin Morgan and Carlos Brathwaite emerging as the possible targets.

The Thunder were previously linked with de Villiers in 2016 and their hopes of landing the Proteas batsman will be further boosted by his stance over Test cricket. De Villiers hasn’t played a Test since the series against England in January last year and recently South Africa captain Faf du Plessis indicated that the 33-year old is unlikely to return to the longest format of the game.

“I would love AB to play – we all know how good he is and we missed him, but we’ve spent too much time talking about when he is going to come back. The hope of him coming back is something we need to move the past, we need to find someone else to fulfil that role. If AB comes back it’s a huge bonus but I don’t expect him to come back into the Test team,” du Plessis had said after the fourth Test against England.

Sydney Thunder Target AB de Villiers As Andre Russell's Replacement
Credits: Getty

But at the same time, cricket.com.au has reported that a Thunder spokesperson told them that talk of the club’s interest in de Villiers was simply media speculation before confirming that the team is targeting a class batsman to fill an international spot on the list.

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