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Ian Chadband

Beth Mooney embraces surprise Indian WPL captaincy call

Beth Mooney will lead Gujarat in the WPL even though she hadn't expected the captaincy. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Beth Mooney is ready to embrace more sporting history by captaining Gujarat Giants in the first match ever to be played in the new money-spinning, potentially game-changing Women's Premier League in India.

And yet the Australian batting ace admits that the leadership job was not what she expected as the lucrative league is launched with her side facing Mumbai Indians at Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.

Fresh from her player-of-the-match innings which helped Australia to another global title in the T20 World Cup final in South Africa, Mooney reckoned she felt as if she'd been in a whirlwind ever since arriving in India on Wednesday.

And she'll be thrown right into the deep end of the big tournament with her fellow Australian recruits for big-spending Gujarat - Ash Gardner, Annabel Sutherland and Georgia Wareham - in the launch match.

The 29-year-old Mooney told reporters on the eve of the match on Friday that she'd originally only expected to be in the WPL as a player, not as a captain - but was taken aback when she got a call from Gujarat's former Indian captain Mithali Raj, asking her to lead the new outfit.

"When I got bid on in the auction, I was just happy to be a part of it and captaincy wasn't something that was on my radar," Mooney admitted.

But after a couple of conversations with her former Australia teammate Rachael Haynes, who's been taken on by Gujarat for her maiden head coaching job, Mooney decided it was time to "challenge" herself in her first major captaincy role.

"I know Rachael Haynes quite well and it's good to be able to work pretty close with her," said Mooney, who'll be one of three Aussies leading teams in the WPL with national team captain Meg Lanning overseeing Delhi Capitals and Alyssa Healy captaining UP Warriorz.

"I trust Rach and her judgement and so I was more than happy to help her out."

The captaincy means only more pressure for opening batter Mooney, who has already been saddled with plenty after being snapped up for the huge price tag of $350,000 at the WPL auction. Gujarat expects her to deliver - but she doesn't sound concerned.

"There's nothing no one else can put on me more than I put on myself," she said.

There'll be even more expectation on allrounder Gardner, player of the tournament at the T20 World Cup and WBBL player of the year, who was the most expensive overseas recruit of all at $558,000.

Playing against Mooney's Giants will be Mumbai's lone Australian signing, allrounder Heather Graham, in a side that features India captain Harmanpreet Kaur and England's star allrounder Nat Sciver-Brunt.

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