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Kate Cross poised to unleash frustration of a quiet English summer

Senior seamer has played just three times for her country this season as youngsters emerge

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Kate Cross during a nets session  •  ECB via Getty Images

Kate Cross during a nets session  •  ECB via Getty Images

Kate Cross is poised to unleash the frustration of a quiet English summer when her side opens their ODI series with India at Hove on Sunday.
The match will be Cross's first in an England shirt for two months, the seamer who turns 31 next month having played for her country just three times this summer.
She took 4 for 63 and 2 for 56 in the drawn Test against South Africa which kicked off the home international season and went wicketless in two ODIs against the same opposition.
"You just want to play as much cricket as you can, and I feel like I've probably been a bit light on cricket this summer," Cross said. "I've played three games for England, which feels really - compared to last year especially - like not a lot of cricket.
"You do all the training so you can go out there and enjoy those moments as a team. I've had one of the best seats in the house to watch that T20 series and see the youngsters go out and do their thing, so I just can't wait to get out there."
Cross was part of England's T20I squad for South Africa's tour, the Commonwealth Games and the recently completed series with India, which the hosts won 2-1, but did not play a game.
During that time, she has witnessed close-up the emergence of a new generation, including seam bowlers Issy Wong, Lauren Bell and Freya Kemp, as well as allrounder Alice Capsey.
Kemp and Capsey have been particularly impressive with the bat also and are set to make their ODI debuts during the three-match series with India, while Wong and Bell are looking to expand their experience in the format having played two ODIs each against South Africa.
"It's always frustrating when you're in a squad and not playing," said Cross, who is the senior seamer in England's squad with veteran Katherine Brunt resting. "But I think from my point of view, there's a bit of experience that I can bring to the group even when I'm not playing.
"That's been something that I've tried to do with this team as we've obviously not got Nat [Sciver] or Katherine around, so as a senior bowler it's nice to have a bit more responsibility and some youngsters listening to what you're saying.
"They've been so impressive. They've just had no fear when they've come out to play for England, which is everything that we want moving forward. It's what we're trying to achieve as a team. It's a type of cricket that means that you can't fail and they've just come in and done exactly that."
All of which augers well for England's future, but doesn't make it easier for Cross to break her playing drought, although she was keen to highlight that as a positive for the home side also.
"The only thing I can go off is my past record in ODI cricket and I'd like to think that that would stand me in good stead," Cross said. "Flipping that, it's really exciting, that we've got competition for places now.
"If you looked at this squad a couple of years ago and it didn't have Nat and Katherine in it, I think a lot of people would have panicked, but it's just so fantastic that youngsters are coming through and they're taking their opportunities.
"No one can rest easy when you've got the likes of an Issy Wong or a Lauren Bell behind you so I think it's really good and it keeps selection juicy, I guess, because you don't know what's going to happen."
Cross was a standout performer in the ODIs last time India toured England, a year ago, her 5 for 34 in Taunton earning her Player-of-the-Match honours and helping the hosts to a five-wicket victory and 2-0 series lead before India won the final game in Worcester for a 2-1 series scoreline.
After Hove, this series moves to Canterbury on Wednesday followed by the finale at Lord's next Saturday. The last time these sides met at 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-strong squad for that World Cup.
"When the fixture list came out at the start of the summer, it was the first thing that I noticed," Cross said. "It's such a huge occasion for us to be able to play at a ground like Lord's. There's so much history there and the last time that we played there as a team was in 2017 so there's some really special memories there against India as well.
"It's funny because a lot of the young girls have been playing at Lord's in the Hundred and it's nothing too big for them. Whereas for some of the older girls who have not actually had that much opportunity to play there - I've only played one game there and it was for the MCC, so I've never played internationally there or in the Hundred - so it just always feels like a special occasion when you get to be at Lord's."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo