Birmingham Phoenix have announced that Moeen Ali and Sophie Devine will be retained as captains for the first season of The Hundred.
The duo were originally confirmed as captains in February this year with both stating their delight at being asked to lead Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural edition of the competition.
However, originally scheduled to begin on 17 July and end on 15 August, The Hundred – involving eight teams in men’s and women’s competitions running alongside each other – was postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair have plenty of experience of playing at Edgbaston and in the Midlands. World Cup-winning Moeen grew up just a short distance from the stadium and remains a much-loved member of the local community, whilst New Zealand International Devine played county cricket with Warwickshire.
Moeen Ali said:“Birmingham is my city and captaining my home team in The Hundred is right up there in terms of my career.
“I was born, raised and my life is still based in Birmingham, so to be the first-ever men’s captain of Birmingham Phoenix is very special for me.
“Sports fans across the country and in Birmingham especially will be eager to watch some live cricket.
“Leading Birmingham Phoenix out on to the field at Edgbaston, with the whole community behind you will be an amazing feeling.”
Sophie Devine said:“It’s a huge honour to captain Birmingham Phoenix and I’m really excited to be leading this side.
“We are putting together an exciting line-up and the international players we are looking to bring in are of the highest quality. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside them.
“With the opportunities that are here at the moment I sometimes have to pinch myself that I do this for a job.
“Exposing more players to the highest quality cricket is only going to benefit the women’s game globally and The Hundred is going to be a huge moment in women’s sport.”
Moeen has an excellent record as a captain having led Worcestershire Rapids to the past two Vitality Blast finals at Edgbaston, including their victory in 2018. He became the first Muslim to lead the national T20 side when he deputised for England captain Eoin Morgan earlier this year.
Devine also brings strong international captaincy experience to Birmingham Phoenix having been named the permanent New Zealand captain in July this year. She stepped up to lead the White Ferns when her predecessor Amy Satterthwaite took leave last year to have her first child and skippered the team at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Moeen added:“I had a chat with Head Coach Andrew McDonald a couple of days ago about what we’re trying to do moving forward and how we start to put some plans in place.
“There’s a lot of work to do before the season starts and we keep in touch regularly.
“When I see him at grounds when we’re playing in the IPL, we try to have a quick chat about things and we’re both really excited for The Hundred next year.”
Sophie Devine added:“Everyone is different, but for me being a captain is about leading with actions and leading from the front.
“If I can inspire my teammates to play a certain way or follow my lead, that will be more powerful than words spoken from the sidelines.
“I’ll try to lead from the front with bat and ball and encourage others to play to their potential and believe in themselves because I’ll be backing them 100%.
“It’s only a hundred balls so you’ve got nothing to lose. That’s what makes it such an exciting competition.”
The news follows the announcement that Moeen and Devine will be joined at Birmingham Phoenix by Chris Woakes, Amy Jones and Dom Sibley.
England Men’s all-rounder Woakes and England Women’s wicketkeeper-batter Jones – both local to the region – have been retained from the initial men’s and women’s squads respectively.
Sibley has been signed as a Test-contracted player after the 25-year-old batsman was awarded his first ECB Central Contract last month.