Cricket: Kate Cross to play in historic opening match of The Hundred
Date published: 20 July 2021
Former Heywood cricketer Kate Cross will play in the historic opening of a new 100-ball cricket competition.
Cross has been selected by Manchester Originals - which she will captain - to play in the first season of The Hundred, which starts this Wednesday (21 July).
Cross is joined in the Manchester Originals team by ICC Cricket World Cup winner Alex Hartley, wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld and all-rounders Emma Lamb and Georgie Boyce, all of whom played for Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League.
Additionally, Cross’ England teammate and captain, Heather Knight, who was born in Rochdale, will be batting for London Spirit.
The Hundred is the new 100-ball cricket competition promising unprecedented gender parity for the sport when it launches on 21 July.
The Hundred features world-class players and massive names from around the world. Eight brand new city-based women's and men's teams will compete over five weeks every summer.
A men’s squad and women’s squad will be formed for each team, with the competitions running alongside each other. The new competition has a vision to grow the game and is part of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s long-term strategy to inspire a new generation to choose cricket.
Save for the tournament’s standalone all-women’s opener at the Kia Oval, all matches will be played on single-ticket double bills.
The Manchester Originals will compete against seven other new teams in men’s and women’s competitions. Emirates Old Trafford with host the team’s first home game on Sunday 25 July, with tickets starting at £12 for adults and £5 for under 16s.
Manchester Originals’ fixture list at Emirates Old Trafford is as follows:
- Sunday 25 July - Manchester Originals VS Birmingham Phoenix (Women’s start 2.30pm; Men’s start 6pm)
- Wednesday 28 July - Manchester Originals VS Northern Superchargers (Women’s start 3pm; Men’s start 6.30pm)
- Thursday 5 August - Manchester Originals VS Southern Brave (Women’s start 3.30pm; Men’s start 7pm)
- Tuesday 10 August - Manchester Originals VS London Spirit (Women’s start 3pm; Men’s start 6.30pm)
Cross said: "It’s going to be great playing for the very first time in this competition and The Hundred has been a long time coming. This is a huge opportunity for our game and is going to be a fantastic six weeks that will undoubtedly bring new fans to the sport. I can’t wait to get started in front of the fans again at Emirates Old Trafford.”
Organisers hope the gender-neutral language of the tournament, which will feature “batters” instead of “batsmen” and crown a “Hero of the Match” at the end of play, will fundamentally alter the vernacular across all formats.
Rochdale-born broadcaster and Match of the Day 2 host Mark Chapman, 47, who is on the board of Manchester Originals, has warned it will take time for fans and pundits alike to adjust—especially for self-described “cricket traditionalists” like himself.
He said: “I think the majority of broadcasters, you often feel like you’re on a knife edge at the moment every time you go on air, because you’re not one 100 per cent sure what might come back.
“If somebody in The Hundred says ‘batsman’ during a women’s game, I would hope that there isn’t a pile-on.
“I’ve been broadcasting for 25 years; I’ve done a lot of cricket in that time.
“All I grew up with was the word ‘batsman’, and therefore I’m training myself out of that word.
“For people that are in all of this [who] are trying to get things right, a greater understanding from both sides would be beneficial, because everybody is going to make mistakes.”
The Hundred, believes Chapman, offers a rare opportunity for men and women not just to share facilities—squads stay in the same hotels and train in the same grounds—but strategy and approach.
He said: “We want those two teams to work together, to swap ideas, to feel like a unit of 30 players not two separate squads.
“And that includes training together, if there’s an opportunity to swap ideas and swap skills.
“There’s skills training that can be done in joint sessions that is hugely important, that we think both sides can benefit from.
“Obviously our women’s team are involved in the very first game in The Hundred, so our men will be there en masse to support the women, and their training will fit around that accordingly.”
The Hundred also supports development off the pitch, including The Hundred Rising, a programme giving up-and-coming talent real-world experience in the sport sector.
Manchester Originals will face the Oval Invincibles in the historic opener: You can see and be part of history: show your support and attend the first game of The Hundred on 21 July at The Kia Oval #BeThere. thehundred.com
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