England's Kate Cross urges more red-ball games to boost women's cricket
"I think you will get more out of female athletes if you give them the opportunity to hone their skill in the longer format," says England's Kate Cross; England Women begin their international summer with a Test against India at Bristol on June 16, live on Sky Sports Cricket
Last Updated: 31/05/21 1:16pm
England seamer Kate Cross has called for an increase in red-ball cricket to help raise standards across the women’s game.
Cross, currently turning out for Lancashire-based Thunder in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy tournament, would like to see more opportunities for women to play the longer format.
The 29-year-old, who played the last of her three Tests in 2015 but remains a key member of England's white-ball squad, also feels a points structure - as already used in the women's Ashes - should be introduced across the board for international series.
England begin their international summer on June 16, when they face India in a single Test at Bristol, live on Sky Sports Cricket, followed by three ODIs and a three-match T20 series.
"We don't get the opportunity to play red-ball cricket that often," said Cross. "We had one three-day game that was washed out in monsoon season in May last week!
"The preparation is probably never going to be as good as it is for white-ball cricket. We learn about four-day cricket while we play it.
"I think you will get more out of female athletes if you give them the opportunity to hone their skill in the longer format.
"I'd love to see a lot more three and four-day cricket played and I think all our international series should be played like Ashes series - the Test match, three T20s and three one-dayers as part of a points system. I think that's a brilliant idea."
We are still in a generation where girls need to focus on university or school before they can really commit to cricket because there’s not that money yet. It’s getting there, but there is still a bit more investment needed so we can give it a real good go.
England international bowler Kate Cross
Cross, who has represented England 41 times in white-ball cricket, applauded the ECB for its commitment to growing the women's game in recent years.
She also believes credit should go to former England women's coach Mark Robinson, who spent four years in the role and guided the team to World Cup glory in 2017, for the part he played in driving forward levels of professionalism.
"I think Mark Robinson was key. He really drove the standards of what a professional environment looks like," Cross added.
"He came from the men's game, knew what that environment looked like, and saw there were a few gaps in the women's game.
"I can't praise the ECB enough. We were in the midst of a global pandemic and they really committed to the game.
"It easy to say you want to support the women's game, but the ECB invested in it in a difficult year financially for everyone. It's positive steps - we just need to play more cricket."That's always been my argument. Ratio-wise, I seem to be in the nets 70 per cent of the time and get 30 per cent game time. You do all your learning out on the pitch, experiencing the pressure."