Kate Cross has hailed the captaincy skills of Hollie Armitage after the England fast bowling star played under the rapidly developing all-rounder during this summer’s Hundred competition.
Cross says she really enjoyed her first season playing for the Northern Superchargers, making the daunting trek across the Pennines having spent her whole domestic career immersed in Lancashire life, be it with the Red Rose, Thunder or the Manchester Originals.
England’s Cross, who played a central role in this summer’s thrilling Ashes series, was the Superchargers’ first pick in March’s draft.
It was a move which surprised the former Originals captain as much as anyone, but she took to life in purple like a duck to water, taking 10 wickets in as many matches through August as the Superchargers reached the final at Lord’s, only to be beaten by Southern Brave.
“I loved it,” she said. “You obviously have a lot of apprehension when you move away from a club where you’ve grown up at and played all your cricket at.
“I know it’s a bit different with Manchester than it is with Lancashire and Thunder, but Emirates Old Trafford is still my home.
“I was pretty nervous, actually. But, as soon as I got over there, it was great. They took me in and were kind to me.
“Headingley was nice to me and Old Trafford less so. I got booed when I walked out to bat there. But I was expecting that.
“It was quite a good move for me in hindsight. Going away from somewhere you’re so used to playing, going to be a senior leader in another group was a new challenge.
“There were different expectations, and when you’re signed at the top bracket there’s that financial pressure and you have to win your team games. That was all bit new for me, but I really enjoyed the experience.
“Getting through to the final was a huge help with that, and they were a great set of girls.”
Armitage, 26 to Cross’s 32 – the latter celebrated her birthday yesterday, has captained the Superchargers for the last two summers.
She has also skippered the Northern Diamonds for the last three, leading them to the 2022 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy title.
Earlier this summer, the batting all-rounder played for England A against their Australian counterparts.
“I really enjoyed working under a different captain in Hollie,” said Cross.
“I found her to be a breath of fresh air, and she really helped me with my game. That was great.
“I would have her up there as one of the best captains in the tournament.
“Tactically, she’s right up there, and she really impressed me with how calm she was in pressure situations. She’s obviously used to that having played in some big regional games.
“She knew the right time to let people know their standards weren’t good enough and equally when to give praise. That’s always a difficult thing to do as a captain because you want people to like you.
“If you’re giving out rollickings, it can be difficult. But she just nailed it in absolutely everything she did.
“She’s got a lot more to give with the bat as well. She will probably hold her hands up and admit that she didn’t have her best tournament with the bat.
“But the games in which she didn’t contribute with the bat, she did in the field and with her captaincy.
“It’s very exciting for her to see where she can get to.”