It’s been quite the week for Lancashire’s Kate Cross. Not only did she make a spectacular return to the international scene in England’s first two ODIs against West Indies, returning 1-12 and 2-4; but she was officially unveiled as the new captain of Lancashire Thunder for the 2019 Kia Super League, which gets underway on August 6.
“I got a message a couple of weeks ago asking if I’d be willing to do it,” she tells The Cricket Paper. “I didn’t really need to think about it too much! We’re a team who have really started to find a winning formula – it’s going to be exciting.”
Last season, the Thunder fell just short of reaching Finals Day last year, pipped to the post by Surrey Stars’ dramatic last-ball win, and Cross says her side fully intend to pick up where they left off.
“To have a summer last year where we were so close to getting to Finals Day was almost agonising because I felt like if we’d got there, we would have won it. This time it’s going to be all about taking forward the momentum that we created last year.
“For the first time we’re going to start with a group of girls who believe that we can make it to Finals Day. That mentality is the most exciting thing – we’ve got that ability and we can challenge at the top now.”
This will be the last edition of the tournament – it is due to be replaced by the new Women’s Hundred competition next season – giving an odd sense of anti-climax to the whole affair.
Nonetheless, Cross is feeling positive. “The KSL has gained a lot of momentum and picked up some supporters along the way,” she says, “but hopefully we can take those into the Hundred as well.”
Cross’ predecessor as captain, Dani Hazell, retired from playing earlier this year and will instead coach Thunder’s rivals Yorkshire Diamonds, who this week announced their full 2019 squad.
It includes three brand new overseas players – Aussie wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, rising Indian star Jemima Rodrigues and South African all-rounder Chloe Tryon. Traditionally, the Diamonds have struggled in the KSL, finishing fifth in last year’s competition, so will be hoping the new talent on display can bring a turnaround in their fortunes.
Loughborough Lightning have also added a new player to their ranks – Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce.
She follows in the footsteps of Scotland teammate Kirstie Gordon, who made the big move “down South” last summer, finished as leading tournament wicket taker and was catapulted into the England side for the Women’s World T20.
By contrast, Bryce, who featured in the ICC’s Associate “Rookie” Programme over the winter and is currently a student at Loughborough University, is set to return to Scotland immediately after the conclusion of the KSL to participate in the World Cup qualifiers in Dundee.
RAF NICHOLSON / Photo: Getty Images
Tagged Kate Cross