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Kate Cross poised to unleash frustration of a quiet English summer

Kate Cross is ready to unleash the frustration of a quiet English summer as her side opens their ODI series with India in Hove on Sunday.

The match will be Cross’s first in an England shirt in two months, the sailor who turns 31 next month has only played three times for her country this summer.

She took 4 for 63 and 2 for 56 in the drawn Test against South Africa which started the international home season and went wicketless in two ODIs against the same opposition.

“You just want to play cricket as much as possible, and I feel like I’ve probably been a little light on cricket this summer,” said Cross. “I’ve played three games for England and it doesn’t feel like much cricket, especially compared to last year.

“You do all the training so you can go out and enjoy those moments as a team. I’ve had one of the best seats in the house to watch that T20 series and watch the youngsters go out and do their thing , so I just can’t wait to get out.”

Cross was part of England’s T20I squad for the South African tour, the Commonwealth Games and the recently completed series with India, which the hosts won 2-1 but didn’t play a game on.

Kemp and Capsey were also particularly impressive with the bat and will make their ODI debut in the three-game series with India, while Wong and Bell are looking to expand their experience in the format by having played two ODIs each against South Africa.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re on a squad and not playing,” said Cross, the senior seamer in the England squad, as veteran Katherine Brunt rests. “But from my point of view, I think there’s a little bit of experience I can bring to the group, even when I’m not playing.

“That’s something I’ve tried to do with this team because we obviously don’t have Nat [Sciver] or Katherine nearby, so as a senior bowler it’s nice to have a little more responsibility and a few young people to listen to what you’re saying.

“They were so impressive. They just weren’t scared when they came to play for England, and that’s all we want to move forward. That’s what we’re trying to achieve as a team. It’s a type of cricket means you don’t can fail and they just came in and did just that.”

All of this bodes well for England’s future, but doesn’t make it any easier for Cross to break out of her playing drought, though she also wanted to highlight that as a positive for the home side.

“The only thing I can get rid of is my previous record in ODI cricket and I’d like to think that would serve me well,” said Cross. “Turning that around, it’s really exciting, that we now have competition for places.

“If you had looked at this squad a few years ago and it didn’t have Nat and Katherine in it, I think a lot of people would have freaked out, but it’s just so fantastic that young people are coming through and they’re showing their potential.

“Nobody can rest easy when you have an Issy Wong or a Lauren Bell behind you so I think it’s really good and it keeps the roster juicy I guess because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Cross was a standout performer in the ODIs the last time India toured England a year ago, her 5 for 34 at Taunton, earning her Player-of-the-Match accolades and helping the hosts to a win five wicket and a 2-0 series lead before India won the final game in Worcester from a 2-1 series deficit.

After Hove, this series moves to Canterbury on Wednesday, followed by the final on Lord’s next Saturday. The last time these teams met in the home of cricket was in the 2017 World Cup final, which England won in a nine-run thriller.

That match carries bittersweet memories for Cross. Along with Amy Jones – now acting captain in place of Heather Knight (hip injury) and Sciver (mental health break) – and Tash Farrant, she was one of three centrally contracted England players left out of the 15-man roster for that World Cup.

“When the race list came out at the beginning of the summer, that was the first thing I noticed,” said Cross. “It’s such a great opportunity for us to be able to play on a ground like Lord’s. There’s so much history there and the last time we played there as a team was in 2017, so there are very special memories there against India as well.

“It’s funny because a lot of the young girls have played at Lord’s in the Hundred and it’s nothing too big for them. While for some of the older girls who haven’t actually had that much of a chance to play there – I’ve only played one match there and it was for the MCC, so I’ve never played internationally there or in the Hundred – so it always feels like a special occasion when you get to be at Lord’s.”

Valkerie Baynes is general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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