Kate Cross: England seamer says team will play exciting style

By Kalika MehtaBBC Sport
Kate Cross
Kate Cross claimed seven wickets in her first Ashes series in 2014

Seam bowler Kate Cross says England will accept "nothing short of 100%" in terms of their own performances in the upcoming Women's Ashes.

It is the first series to be played against Australia since England became a fully professional side.

"We talk a lot about the brand of cricket that we play and the excitement that we want to showcase," she said.

"Those are the things that will bring the crowds in and hopefully the younger generation will see and aspire to."

Lancastrian Cross has made plenty of personal headlines this year, with her exploits for Heywood CC men's team.

But she is now fully focused on helping England retain the Ashes and is confident they can deal with the added pressure resulting from professional contracts.

"As soon as we turned professional there was this pressure from the media that there is an expectation for us to win," Cross told BBC Sport.

"Equally, we put that pressure on ourselves. We set our standards really high and nothing short of 100% is good enough for us.

Cross's rise to stardom
2005: Makes her senior county cricket debut for Lancashire as a 13-year-old
October 2013: Wins first of nine ODI caps for England against the West Indies
January 2014: Makes Test debut in Women's Ashes tour of Australia
April 2015: Became the first woman to play in the 123-year history of the Central Lancashire League, taking 3-19 on debut

"The Ashes is a really special series, it is something you really want to win and you fight hard for."

The series was changed to a points-based format in 2013 with matches in all three formats of the game counting towards the overall result.

Further refinements have been made for this summer, with the number of points allocated to victory in the one-off Test reduced from six to four, in hopes of keeping the series competitive throughout.

England won the first two points-based Ashes series, 12-4 at home in 2013 and 10-8 in Australia last year, but Cross admitted the latest changes could see this series go down to the wire.

"With the Test match now only being four points, both teams will aim for a win rather then play for the draw, which was the case with the six points," she said.

"We bring in a lot of excitement because of the points system and I know a lot of other nations want to play us in that format.

"I hope it doesn't, but it means the Ashes could go down to the very last game. That would be hard on the nerves."

The first 50-over one-day international will be played at Taunton on Tuesday, 21 July - and all seven matches will be played at county grounds, another change which Cross believes will benefit both teams.

"I think the standard of cricket might be a bit higher as we are playing at county grounds; it's a big step up for us," she added

"We played our Test match [against India] at Wormsley last summer, which is quite hard for people to get to and it is difficult to showcase the game from that ground.

"Hopefully there will be a lot more people watching us and there is a huge buzz around the camp at the moment."

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