Lancashire Thunder team. ©ProSports Images

Lancashire Thunder have announced that England International Kate Cross will lead their side into this season’s Women’s Cricket Super League.

They have also retained Alex Hartley and Sophie Ecclestone for the upcoming season. The announcement follows the England and Wales Cricket Board’s confirmation of their allocation of England players for this year’s competition.

27-year old Mancunian will replace Dani Hazell as skipper, following her retirement from cricket earlier this year. Dani Hazell has taken up the role of the Head Coach at Yorkshire Diamonds.

Cross has deep roots in Lancashire as she made her debut at the age of just 13 and became the first girl to be accepted into the Lancashire Academy at 15. She won her first England cap in 2013 and represented the country in 3 test matches.

While playing in England, Cross has played for Thunder in every edition of the WCSL, and she has also played in Women’s Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers. Earlier this year, she was also awarded a full central contract by the ECB.

On her appointment as the captain, Cross Said, “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been offered the opportunity to Captain Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League this summer.

“I have been proud to represent the Red Rose for 14 years now and I am hugely excited to lead this fantastic group of girls.

“Dani was a superb Captain and we wish her all the best as Head Coach of Yorkshire Diamonds, it is my hope that we can build on the great progress made last year.”

Head Coach Alex Blackwell commented: “I’m really pleased that Kate has accepted our offer to be Captain of Lancashire Thunder and I believe she will do a fantastic job.

“I was really impressed with Kate as a cricketer and a leader in 2018 and her strong relationship with the squad will be crucial, as will the experiences that she will be able to pass on to the younger players.

“I was pleased with the performance of Lancashire Thunder in last year’s Kia Super League and I hope that we can better that in 2019.”

Alex Blackwell will also be joined at Emirates Old Trafford by Mark McInnes for the campaign. McInnes currently works with Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League and will link up with the existing coaching team.

Cross took 7 wickets for the Thunder in the last campaign which was Thunder’s best ever finish with five wins out of 10 matches. They finished fourth and failed to qualify for the semi-final berth.

Other England Internationals Sophie Ecclestone, who had impressive last season with 15 wickets in 10 matches and Alex Hartley, who took 10 wickets will also return for Thunder.

Lancashire Thunder will kickstart 2019 season with a home game against Southern Vipers at Aigburth in Liverpool.

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