It is a new era for England Women and Manchester cricketer Kate Cross is determined to stake her claim for a starring role.
It has been a difficult year for the England Women’s team that has left new head coach Mark Robinson with a rebuilding job to do ahead of next year’s World Cup on home soil.
And that job was made even harder this past week with the news that Charlotte Edwards – the only man or woman to captain England more than 200 times – retired from international cricket, while wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor is taking an indefinite break due to personal reasons.
Taylor is England’s third highest one-day international run-scorer and second only to Charlotte Edwards in T20 games, while in October last year she became the first woman to play in Australian first-grade cricket.
But as one door closes another opens and pace bowler Cross – who showed glimpses of what she can do with England Women’s Academy in Sri Lanka over the winter – is ready to prove her worth ahead of the upcoming One-Day International Series against Pakistan that kicks off on June 20.
“The first aim is to get in the squad [for Pakistan], and then get in the starting XI and in the team,” said Cross.
“I think it is going to be a very interesting summer for us, we don’t have Lottie [Edwards] with us going into the summer so that will be something brand new we will have to deal with very quickly.
“That gives a lot of girls opportunities and there will be three or four girls fighting for her spot now.
“That is creating a lot of excitement around the squad at the minute for the Pakistan series, especially with [Mark] Robinson coming in, not everything is settled yet because he’s only been here for three months but things are being put in place now and we can see how the structure is going to build.”
Robinson instigating the international retirement of Edwards isn’t the only stir he has caused since coming in as head coach in November as he said his troops needed to “get fitter and toughen up” after their disappointing semi-final defeat to Australia at the World Twenty20 in March.
Cross was not part of the England squad at that tournament but insists the squad is not shy when it comes to constructive criticism.
“I heard Robinson’s comments after the game but I think as a squad we are always striving to be better,” she added.
“With the new professional era that came in a couple of years ago we are still learning about that and adapting to it.
“I think that is where Robinson will really help us, he is coming in from men’s cricket where they’ve been professional for a long time so he’s used to that.
“For us it is very new but we are always striving to be better. His comments I think were warranted. We lost that game by four or five runs and there were some runs that got missed out in the game.”
Kate Cross was speaking at a Royal London event, showcasing their support of the Women’s game and the upcoming One-Day International Series against Pakistan. For more information visit www.royallondoncricket.com