Kate hopes for first England cap
Lancashire cricketer Kate Cross has flown out to South Africa with the England Academy squad, believing that there could be no better time to break into the full national side.
The recent retirement of Isa Guha has left a gap in the England team and 20-year-old Cross, who plays for Heywood Cricket Club, hopes that a hard winter’s work has put her in a good position to claim a first full cap.
The seamer said: "The South African tour will give me a good indication of where I am regarding international cricket.
"I’ve had as good a winter as I could have hoped for, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and my bowling has really come on.
"I’m still taking one thing at a time but there’s a lot of cricket ahead over the next 12 months, including the Twenty20 and 50-over World Cups, and I’m hoping to be involved in some capacity." But before Cross joined her team-mates for a tour which includes fixtures against the full South African women’s side, she found time to help spruce up Heywood’s ground as part of the NatWest CricketForce initiative.
Cross is at pains to stress that Heywood has been ‘pivotal’ to her development.
"I wouldn’t be where I was if I didn’t have club cricket," she said. "I started playing at Heywood when I was eight and I’ve played right through the age groups. I’ve had the challenge of playing in good standard men’s cricket and most of my best friends have been made at Heywood. "When I was asked to turn up on Saturday I asked my dad if I should wear my ECB kit or Heywood’s, and he said it had better be the ECB as I was representing the national board. But it still felt quite strange to do so at my own club."
However, if Heywood will always have a special place in Cross’s heart, she is no less grateful to Lancashire, and in particular the county’s Academy, of which she was the first female member in 2006.
"The Lancashire Academy helped me to realise where I might go with my cricket," she said. "John Stanworth and Steve Titchard made me understand that it wasn’t just about running in and bowling. The three years I spent at the Academy included work on nutrition and dealing with the media and everything has come from what learned there.
"I can’t thank John Stanworth enough for the faith he showed in me and I just hope that events over the next year or so might repay that faith in some way.
"Things are certainly going in the right direction at the moment and have been since I took a break from the game in the first half of last season.
"I returned to cricket with even more enthusiasm than I had possessed previously and now I’m just hoping for a good year with Lancashire and England."
The LCB would like to wish Kate the very best of luck in South Africa with the England Academy and during the forthcoming season with the Lancashire Senior Women squad.
This article was featured in the Manchester Evening News and the Heywood Advertiser Newspapers and was written by Paul Edwards.