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'Winning isn't complicated' - Lanning breaks it down for Delhi Capitals

Five time world champion hopes to help her new WPL team hit great heights

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
Australia captain Meg Lanning landed in Mumbai on Thursday for the WPL and was named Delhi Capitals captain straightaway. Having led Australia to five World Cup titles - four in T20s and one in ODIs - she spoke about the challenges of leading a franchise team, inculcating the winning culture in her new team-mates, batting with Shafali Verma, and more.
It's a new set-up, a new team with new players. As a captain what are you most looking forward to in putting the team together?
It's about working out what everyone's strengths are and what they can bring to the team. Everyone's different and everyone is able to bring something different and we try and embrace them and bring it all together. We have got a good blend of youth and experience. The tricky part is to try and work it out in such a short space of time. With JB [Jonathan Batty, head coach], he's been around the squad for a little while now…We'll try and get a handle on it in the next few days and try and bring it all together and have some fun and go out there and do our best.
You have a young Jemimah Rodrigues as your deputy. How are you two looking to lead this new team?
I'm excited to work with Jemi. She is a very vibrant character, brings a lot of energy and she is obviously a great player and has good leadership quality as well. I certainly will be leaning on her a fair bit in terms of bringing the squad together and getting to know people and on-field stuff too. I have got no doubt that we will work really well together. Excited to learn off her just as much as she'll learn off me. That's the great thing about this tournament, that you get to work alongside different people and learn different things. Can't wait to work with them.
Shafali is the kind of batter who starts very well but doesn't convert them into big scores often. What kind of guidance are you looking to give her to make her a successful player?
Shafali is an incredible talent and has already played some incredible cricket. A lot of understanding of the game and having an immediate impact on the game comes with experience. She's getting there. I can't wait to stand at the other end and watch her whack other teams around the park instead of setting the field which I have done for a few years. She's learning a lot, she's learning very quickly and she's a super talent. I can't wait to play alongside her and see her dominate.
You've led Australia for many years. How are you looking to lead this new side and how confident are you about winning a title here?
I've been lucky to have a lot of success with Australia, but this is a totally different situation. But nothing changes from my perspective; I love winning, I'm very competitive and I'm coming here to try and help Delhi win as many games as possible. It would be great [to win], every team is probably thinking the same thing but we're doing our best and the biggest challenge is to bring everybody together and making sure we're working as a team. I look forward to that challenge, it's going to be exciting and hopefully we can do well. The first step is making the finals and hopefully go from there.
The Australian team at any level or in any format always talks about this winning culture and bouncing back in games. How are you going to try and inculcate in this kind of a team?
Winning is a little bit of a habit, and you sort of get an understanding of what it takes to win in different situations of games. I've been lucky enough to be part of very successful teams. A lot of it is very simple; it's just being very calm under pressure, playing to your strengths when you're under the pump and also playing with freedom and try and enjoy what you're doing. It's not complicated but the teams that I've been involved with do it the best and are able to bring that together at the right time. I'll be trying my best to get this group coming together and playing as one as best they can and hopefully, we can do that and we'll see where that takes us.
It's just being very calm under pressure, playing to your strengths when you're under the pump and also playing with freedom
Meg Lanning's secret to being a serial winner
How are you looking to handle the younger and unknown players? I think that one of the challenges of being a leader in a tournament like this is how do you bring the best out of everyone, not just of the players who play internationally but also the younger crew. I'll lean on Jemi and Shafali as well a fair bit to try and bring it all together. I certainly don't know everything and they'll certainly need to help me in bringing it all together. But it's just such a great opportunity for the young players to come in and play alongside their heroes like Jemi and Shafali and to be able to be in the same team as them is great. I can't wait to get to know all players and work alongside them and I have got no doubt that I'll learn a lot as well.
As captain what kind of information are you going to lean on the head coach for?
I've known JB a little from the Melbourne Stars and he seems a very calm and collected character. He seems very planned, and really good at working with people as well. I think he'll make a really big difference for me and allow me to just worry about the things that I need to. That's important as well because we're here to win some games and do as well as we can for Delhi. His calmness and ability to stay composed is going to be important not just for me but for the whole team as well. So I can't wait to work with him.
What was the reaction of your Australian team-mates heading into the WPL?
Everyone in the Aussie team was super excited that the competition was up and running. To be able to have so many of our girls involved is great. It's going to be a great experience to play alongside different people, learn different things and also try and also impart some of our knowledge to some of the younger players and some of the players over here in India. That's the great thing about franchise cricket like this is you get to play alongside different people and play in different conditions and different teams. I know everyone I spoke to in the Aussie contingent was super pumped and excited to be involved.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo