Birmingham Phoenix women’s captain Sophie Devine admits it’s a ‘huge honour’ to be leading the side after being retained for the first season of The Hundred.

The New Zealand international was originally confirmed as captain, alongside Men’s skipper Moeen Ali, in February with the competition scheduled to begin on 17 July and end on 15 August.

The coronavirus pandemic, however, postponed the competition to 2021 where all eyes now turn to watch the best talent from within the UK and around the world.

“It’s a huge honour to lead Birmingham Phoenix and I’m really excited to be captaining this side,” said Devine.

“We want to be competitive and play the game hard, but we want to enjoy ourselves while we do it. 

“I’m looking forward to working with and learning from the local talent who can share their knowledge.

“The international players that are potentially coming over are of the highest quality and I’m looking forward to testing myself in The Hundred.”

The New Zealand international will head into the competition with a vast wealth of experience having made 202 appearances in One-Day and T20 cricket.

The destructive all-rounder was made White Ferns captain in July this year, taking over from predecessor Amy Satterthwaite and leading the team at the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

Devine’s impressive CV includes 5,107 runs, 164 wickets and the record of becoming the first player, male or female, to score five consecutive T20I fifty-plus scores, which she extended to six in a row at the beginning of the 2020 T20 World Cup.

It’s certainly not hard to understand why the 31-year-old’s philosophy is ‘to lead from the front’.

“Everyone is different, but for me being a captain is about leading with actions and leading from the front,” added the Wellington native.

“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.”

As well as showcasing the world’s finest talent, The Hundred will play a vital part in shaping the women’s game around the world.

With games shown live on Sky and the BBC and England contracted players signing for the eight teams, Devine believes the competition is just the beginning for the future of the sport.

“Exposing more players to the highest quality cricket is only going to benefit the women’s game globally,” Devine concluded. 

“It will expose more females to the game around the world, which I think is really exciting – it’s awesome to see the opportunities that are out there now. 

“The Hundred will have a massive impact on developing women’s cricket, especially with the coverage on the BBC.

“We’ve seen the impact of the WBBL – the standard keeps on improving with more and more people playing – and I think the Hundred can play a similar role in the UK. 

“With the opportunities that are here at the moment, I sometimes have to pinch myself that I do this for a job.

“If you’d have told me when I started my career that we’d have over 85,000 people watching a women’s cricket final, I’d have laughed, but here we are. 

“I’m humbled and proud to be a female athlete and a women’s cricketer. 

“It’s an exciting time, but it’s only the beginning and this the start of something that I think will bloom.”