Source: via ecb

Kate Cross looking for England to climb table

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Kate Cross has highlighted the importance a successful tour to New Zealand can have on England’s position in the International Cricket Council Women’s Championship.

Charlotte Edwards’ side currently sit fourth in the table, with two wins and a washout from three matches, seven points off leaders Australia, who have played three games more. They continue their campaign against the White Ferns in February when the first three of five one-day internationals, which are separated by a trio of Twenty20s, count towards their league position.

With a maximum of six points on offer to England, Cross is targeting three victories to close in on their fierce rivals at the top ahead of next summer’s Ashes. The Lancastrian told “If we can have a really successful tour of New Zealand, we could be second and that will be mega important going into the Ashes next summer.”

“New Zealand will be a really good tour because we have had a lot of time to improve. It will be good to see where we have got to. Every country is improving in the women’s game now. We are made professional so we have got some pressure to perform all the time.

“Everyone else is also starting to improve so the competition in women’s cricket is getting really, really strong. It is nice that we are playing our three championship games first, then we have got some Twenty20s and then we go back to play some more ODIs. It’s a real mix so it should be really good.”

New Zealand are currently rooted to the bottom of the table following three defeats from as many matches. But Cross insists they have the players to hurt England if the tourists do not perform to their best.

The 23-year-old said: “We know that they are a really strong team, they are strong girls. They have got some really experienced players. Suzie Bates is a very powerful hitter and clean hitter of the ball. As well as Suzie Bates they have got Sian Ruck. She has been in the game a long time and that kind of experience is something that a lot of us girls don’t have. We have got a relatively young squad. We always expect good competition from any country that we go to, we never underestimate anyone.”

Cross has made 12 appearances for England in all formats since making her debut in a Twenty20 in the West Indies in October 2013. She played in one of her country’s two completed matches in the championship, against India at Scarborough in August, but knows she has a long way to go before she can become a first-team regular.

“I still don’t feel like I’ve got a cemented place in the team,” the seamer said. “I know that I am certainly behind Katherine (Brunt) and Anya (Shrubsole) as strike bowlers, so I know my place in the team is the third strike-bowler position.”

England Women v Australia Women: Women's Ashes Series - Day One

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“But I am only 23 so I’m hoping if I can keep myself fit and strong then I will have a long career and that kind of cemented place will come in a few years’ time.”

“I am just enjoying my time with the girls and training pretty much every day now. It is really nice to be able to train frequently with the girls and challenge each other. That is how we are getting better because everyone seems to be upping their game in training. That is pushing everyone in the right direction.”

On learning from Katherine Brunt (pictured right), Cross said: “She doesn’t keep all her information to herself. She is very open and willing to help the younger bowlers, which is brilliant and good for the game.  She has got so much experience in the game. She is your typical fast bowler that is the role model of fast bowlers, certainly in this country. But she has made a name for herself everywhere. When I was growing up she was the girl I looked up to and it is brilliant now that I get to train with her. She is brilliant.”