For the first time ever in women’s cricket history, the Kookaburra ball will be seen resting, as the red Dukes ball takes over. Heather Knight-led English squad will be seen using the ball against South Africa in their upcoming Test match. And, England seamer Kate Cross has examined the ball and has found it to be a better alternative against the Kookaburra ball.
According to Kate, “It does swing for longer, which is great as a bowler. There’s that period with the Kookaburra in Test cricket where the ball goes a bit soft and dead and it’s easier for the batters to cash in. I think what we’ve found is there isn’t going to be that phase with the Dukes. Or, if there is, it isn’t going to be as long as with the Kookaburra.”
She further added, “It’s something that I’m really looking forward to; we’ve been crying out for the Dukes ball for a while now, so the fact that we’ve got the opportunity to play with it is hopefully going to be something that works in the bowlers’ favour for once.”
Katherine Brunt has remained with the squad and is preparing them with the red ball ahead of the team’s Test game with South Africa.
Kate theoretically becomes the senior-most bowler in the squad in the absence of players like Brunt and Anya Shrubsole. Yet she has an experience of merely 5 games which indeed is daunting.
“It’s not like I’m James Anderson with 160-odd games,” she said. “I take experience with a pinch of salt when it comes to red-ball cricket in the women’s game.”
A total of 143 Test games have been played so far and only 5 of them since 2015. South Africa played their last match in 2014. Meanwhile, Greg Barclay’s comments on the women’s Test cricket have been disappointing and Knight had openly shown her disagreement. Kate Cross seemed to echo the same statements as she said, “It’s disappointing from our point of view,” said the veteran pacer. “It’s no different for women growing up: our pinnacle is Test cricket – that’s what I was playing in the garden when I was a kid, playing my own little Ashes series with my brother and sister.”
“To hear comments like that from the powers-that-be is obviously disappointing and, I think, from my point of view the most disappointing thing is how exciting our Test cricket has been when we have played it. If you give us the opportunity to play more of that and learn the game quicker by playing more of it, you’d hopefully see an even better spectacle,” Kate Cross further added. “I think what we’ve been doing recently, being able to incorporate a Test match within our white-ball series, has been something that’s worked really well and hopefully we can keep pushing that and just keep playing a bit more of it and changing the opinions of the people who are making those decisions.”
“I remember my brother texting me afterwards to say that it was one of the things that we played out in the garden, having to save the game,” Kate Cross recalled. “To real-life do that was pretty special. Looking back and seeing how the men have been playing their Test cricket recently, I keep thinking if we could have gone for the win. I’m sure me and Sophie [Ecclestone] could have potentially done that, but in the context of the Ashes points system we needed to keep ourselves alive. But it makes you want to play more of it. If we’d had a three or four-match Test series in Australia, it could have been pretty special to see how we could have played out more matches and those storylines that develop through series.”