13 May 2019
Former South African legend AB de Villiers has decided not to feature in the upcoming edition of Australia's Big Bash League (BBL).
The reason remains unknown as to why he pulled out of the tournament.
However, this would certainly impact Cricket Australia's (CA) relationship with its broadcast partners as to how it would sell the competition in the absence of marquee players.
ABD earlier had expressed interest
It was reported last month that AB de Villiers was interested in featuring in the BBL during the latter half of the tournament, owing to his commitments with the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
However, ESPNCricinfo stated that CA's desperation to make him play the BBL and increase ratings of the tournament could be one of the reasons behind him backing out.
The mantra to BBL's success
"The success of the BBL has always been predicated on a combination of marketable overseas players, some young up and coming stars and the foundation of the Australian domestic players," said Anthony Everard, CA's head of events and leagues.
ABD's presence is crucial for CA' width='100%'/>
ABD's presence is crucial for CA
As per reports, it is also believed that CA had agreed for a deal of A$350,000 with FOX Sports, the broadcaster, to land AB de Villiers for the BBL.
However, there was some controversy as to how to go ahead with the deal, since there is no system, in place, for the clubs to benefit from signing such big players.
ABD could still return for a bargain deal
It is also understood that while de Villiers might have pulled out of the tournament, for now, he could still make a return, provided a proper deal is put on the table.
Since the tournament would not be played until December this year, CA still has ample time to close the deal.
However, preparations for selling the tournament might take a hit until then.
Australia's tour of India hampering CA's domestic preparations
As CA continues to find a solution to the AB de Villiers problem, the author feels that owing to Australia's tour of India in January 2019, things have become messy for the board.
Since Australia's overseas tour is not a part of the FOX deal, CA is trying hard to make up for the financial loss by pushing in big players in the BBL.