Royal Challengers Bangalore have expectedly named senior India batter Smriti Mandhana as their captain for the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL).
The left-handed India vice-captain was signed in the recent auction held in Mumbai for Rs 3.40 crore, the highest price for a player in the WPL auction.
The announcement was made through a video shared on the franchise's social media handles, which had messages from RCB talisman Virat Kohli and current men's team skipper Faf du Plessis.
"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 will have the support of the best team and the best fans in the world," Kohli 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
On announcing Mandhana as the captain, RCB chairman Prathmesh Mishra said: "Smriti is central to our play bold philosophy and cricketing plans. We have handed her the leadership role, and we are confident that Smriti will lead RCB into greater heights."
On her role as the RCB women's team captain, Mandhana said: "It is such a great feeling to see Virat and Faf speak so much about leading RCB and I would like to thank RCB management for giving me this amazing opportunity.
"I am looking forward to receiving all the love and support from you fans who I am told are the best in the World. I promise you to give my 100% to lead RCB to success in WPL."
As an opener, the southpaw has made 2661 runs from 113 WT20Is, averaging 27.15 with a strike-rate of 123.19.
Mandhana has also been a sought-after player on the T20 circuit, making appearances for Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder (Women's BBL), Western Storm (Kia Super League) and Southern Brave (The Hundred).
She has captained India in 11 T20Is, of which they have won six and lost five games. She was also skipper of Trailblazers at the Women's T20 Challenge - the WPL's precursor - across all four seasons it was held while leading the team to the title in 2020.
The decorated player recently won the ICC Women Cricketer Of The Year for scoring 855 runs in 22 matches in 2021.
The WPL begins on March 4, with Gujarat Giants taking on Mumbai Indians. RCB's opener is against Delhi Capitals on March 5.