By Liam Blackburn
Kate Cross made her senior England debut less than five months ago, but she has already seen enough from the squad’s “superstars” to convince her that Women’s World Twenty20 glory can be realised in Bangladesh.
It has been a whirlwind winter for 22-year-old Lancashire pace bowler Cross, who took 4-51 in her first one-day international return – against West Indies – last November.
After playing a major role in that historic 2-0 series win – which was the first the Windies had lost at home – Cross starred in England’s Ashes triumph Down Under, claiming three wickets on her Test debut and earning widespread acclaim for her seamless transition to senior international cricket.
While her peers have been left impressed with Cross’ instant impact since joining the squad, England’s latest seamer was full of praise for the winning environment Charlotte Edwards’ team have created.
“A lot of it is down to the hard work that the girls put in behind the scenes,” she told ecb.co.uk at Emirates Old Trafford, where she was helping to launch ‘The Lancashire Way’ – an initiative designed to raise participation levels in cricket.
“There’s just some superstars in that team and it’s brilliant to be a part of.
“The girls that are the experienced ones there, they’re always giving you a word and talking to you about whatever you need. Lottie (Edwards) is just absolutely brilliant; she knows what to say to you and when to say it to you. She’s a real role model.”
Edwards will take her 15-player party to Bangladesh today with Cross now keen to emulate on the sub-continent the success she enjoyed in both the Caribbean and Australia.
Unlike many of her team-mates, she will not be motivated by the past two Women’s World T20s when England twice fell short – in the West Indies in 2010 and then, agonisingly, in Sri Lanka two years ago when Australia beat them in the final.
“I’ve been to India a few times with the (England Women’s) Academy but, other than that, I’ve not been over there,” Cross added. “It’ll be a lot slower; it’s not going to be the same as the WACA.
“You’ve always got to go into competitions thinking you can win it. On a good day, if we turned up, we can beat any team in that competition and I think it’s going to be a really good tournament.”
England’s squad was announced over a month in advance of their opening tournament game, versus West Indies on Monday week, so Cross has had plenty of time to hone her skills for the challenging Bangladesh wickets.
She was not afforded the same preparation in Australia, though, finding out the evening before the sole Test that she would be wearing England whites for the first time.
Not that it seemed to matter as her first set of six culminated in a wicket-maiden.
“I found out at seven o’clock the night before so I didn’t get much sleep,” she said.
“There were nerves but at the same time I didn’t think I’d get a game so I was a bit shocked when I found out I was playing in the Test match.
“There are always nerves when you’re around an England set-up; every time you’re pulling that shirt on as you’re going to play there’s always going to be a few nerves and it’s just how you control those.”
The nerves will probably be jangling for the newer members of Edwards’ squad, which includes four different faces from the Ashes group.
However, if their impact is as significant as the one Cross has made in her short international career, a repeat of the victory in the inaugural Women’s World T20 in 2009 could be on the cards for England.
“It shows the strength in depth and the competition for places, which I think is really healthy,” Cross said of the squad.
“It shows that we can bring girls in that haven’t been seen by other international teams and it’s kind of a plus for us as well.”
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