Smriti Mandhana named RCB captain for Women's Premier League
She had also led Trailblazers at the Women's T20 Challenge, the WPL's precursor
Royal Challengers Bangalore have named Smriti Mandhana captain for the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League (WPL). The announcement was made through a video shared on RCB's social media handles, which had messages from Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis - the former and current captains of the men's team.
"Now it's time for another No. 18 to lead a very special RCB team in WPL. Yes, we are talking about Smriti Mandhana. Go on Smriti. You have the support best team and best fans in the world," Kohli said.
"It is an incredible privilege to captain RCB, what an incredible franchise and so much history and great players just walking through that dressing room. I am very confident that our women's captain has all the attributes to lead RCB. All the very best, Smriti Mandhana. See you at the games," du Plessis said.
From one No. 18 to another, from one skipper to another, Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis announce RCB's captain for the Women's Premier League - Smriti Mandhana. #PlayBold #WPL2023 #CaptainSmriti @mandhana_smriti pic.twitter.com/sqmKnJePPu— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) February 18, 2023
Mandhana's was the first name that came up for bidding at the WPL auction that was held on February 13 in Mumbai. As expected, there was a bidding war for her, with Mumbai Indians and RCB going head-to-head, before RCB snapped her up for INR 3.4 crore (USD 415,000 approx) - the highest price for any player at the auction.
RCB's director of cricket, Mike Hesson, had hinted on the sidelines of the auction that Mandhana would be taking charge. "Smriti has got plenty of captaincy experience and is familiar with the Indian conditions, so highly likely [she will be captain]," Hesson had said.
She has captained India in 11 T20Is, of which they have won six (including five of the most recent) and lost five games. She was also captain of Trailblazers at the Women's T20 Challenge - the WPL's precursor - across all four seasons it was held, leading the team to the title in 2020.
"It is just a great feeling to see Virat and Faf speak so much about leading RCB. And I would like to thank RCB management for me giving me this amazing opportunity," Mandhana said in the announcement video. "I am looking forward to receiving all the love and support from you fans, who I am told are the best in the world. And I promise you to give my 100% to lead to success in the WPL."
RCB's WPL squad is a strong one, with the likes of Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Heather Knight and Dane van Niekerk in the mix. The tournament kicks off on March 4, with Gujarat Giants taking on Mumbai Indians. RCB get going on March 5 against Delhi Capitals.
RCB will not have any home games in season one, with the full tournament set to be played in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.