'Proud' Lanning to captain Delhi Capitals in inaugural WPL

Decorated Australia cricket captain Meg Lanning will skipper the Delhi Capitals in the inaugural Women's Premier League, the franchise said on Thursday.

The 30-year-old has led her country to four Twenty20 World Cup titles -- the latest in South Africa last month -- and a one-day crown.

The WPL, a T20 competition, begins on Saturday and has been touted as a game-changer for women's cricket.

"It's a very proud moment for me to firstly be involved in a franchise like the Delhi Capitals and then to be named captain is a huge honour," Lanning said in Mumbai, where the WPL will take place over the course of this month.

"The fact that the WPL is now up and running and provides a platform for young girls from around the world, but also from India as well, to take the next step and be involved in something like this is amazing," she added.

Batter Lanning has played 132 T20 internationals, hitting two centuries and 15 half-centuries at an average of 36.61 and strike rate of 116.37.

She has led Australia in 100 T20 matches, the most by any women's player to captain a side in the format.

Lanning will face off in the WPL against fellow Australians Beth Mooney, who was named captain of the Gujarat Giants, and Alyssa Healy, who will lead the UP Warriorz.

The WPL's five debut franchises together sold for nearly $200 million -- more than the eight founding teams of the men's Indian Premier League in 2008.

Together with media rights for the first five seasons, the WPL has already earned India's cricket board a shade under $700 million, making it the second most valuable domestic women's sport competition globally after US professional basketball.

Jemimah Rodrigues, an Indian all-rounder and vice-captain of the Delhi Capitals, said it was a "dream" to play in the WPL.

"This is something we, as a women's team... have been dreaming (about) from a very long time," she said.