England star Kate Cross has labelled Lancashire’s bid to progress women’s and girls cricket as “game-changing” and says she takes on her new role as a non-executive director with the Red Rose’s Foundation with great pride and excitement.

The fast bowler, the daughter of ex-Wanderers and Bury striker David Cross, was appointed early last month, with the aim of supporting the Lancashire Foundation’s bid to increase participation and attended her first board meeting recently.

The 31-year-old’s role will not be limited to the female game given the Foundation works extensively across a host of grassroots projects in the North West. But her expertise in that area will be vital in helping to push a side of the game the county are extremely passionate about.

The Foundation’s work feeds into that of the county club. They lay the foundation for what lies ahead for young and talented cricketers.

“The support the girls get from the county is phenomenal,” said Cross.

“You can see that from how the Thunder set-up has been. There’s a lot being done right here, both from within the club and the Foundation.

“But just being in that director’s role, hopefully I can give a bit more of an insight.

“Lancashire definitely are leading the way. It’s great to see the club I love, and have had so many opportunities through, continue to push the women’s game.

“I think they really want to be game-changing in that regard, and that makes me more proud to be a part of it.”

A prolific performer on the field, Cross has never shied away from getting involved in work off it. She has been a wonderful ambassador for the female game in that regard. But this role just makes things more official.

“This county and region is a great breeding ground for women’s cricket,” she added.

“From the Foundation’s point of view, it’s about how we get that interest and participation level from a younger age to feed into the club at the latter stages of the system.

“We’ve seen how quickly things have progressed in women’s cricket. It’s probably only behind football in this country, and that’s really exciting. It can’t be allowed to go backwards.”

Cross had to go through an application and interview process with the Foundation.

“First and foremost, they needed someone who was involved in or knew about the women’s and girls side of the game,” continued the Heywood product who has become an 82-time capped international.

“I’ve spoken about this before. I always felt my journey in cricket wasn’t that simple. I seemed to have a lot of instances where I was in the right place at the right time or the right person seemed to be watching. That’s led to the career I’ve had.

“I wouldn’t change my journey, but I have grown up in an era of things not being as blue-printed as we would like.

“Hopefully, I can give an idea of what that’s been like, and the reason I’ve been appointed is to help pave the way for further improvement. I want the pathway to be a lot easier than it was for me.

“Having this as an experience will be incredible.”

Cross, who has recently graduated with a Masters in Sports Directorship from Manchester Metropolitan University, already has a wide-ranging view on cricket.

She plays, she commentates and co-hosts the BBC’s No Balls Podcast with Alex Hartley. This new role will only add to her experience.

“Just sat in my first board meeting, it opened my eyes to the business behind sport,” she said. “We go out and play and train. But there’s so much more that goes into it. You probably take that for granted as an athlete.”

She went on: “I’ve done the Masters because I want to support myself in case the worst happens. I want to be involved in cricket and sport, but I don’t know what that will look like until I finish playing because doors open and close.

“Something I’ve learnt since I had my troubles with mental health in 2016 and 2017 is that you can’t just engross yourself fully in cricket. It eats you up.

“I learnt I needed to have something outside of playing. I know my outside stuff still involves cricket, but it’s different.

“I love doing the commentary and media, the podcast with Al. I’m a proper cricket badger, and I love being involved in it all.

“It’s something Jon Lewis (England women’s coach) has been exceptional at. He wants players to get involved in other things to keep themselves fresh mentally. He’s really encouraged that.”

Cross is only a few weeks away from her 32nd birthday, but surely there’s still plenty of life in a player who as a tearaway quick in 2006 was the first female to be inducted into Lancashire’s Academy?

“I do hope so,” she said.

“You get told more about being at the end of your career by the media than you think about it yourself, to be honest.

“It’s quite strange how the narrative changes when you get into your thirties!”

Cross has just completed a memorable summer which saw her help England draw the Ashes and Thunder reach Finals Day in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

“It’s been a really hard summer coming off the back of that (tropical) illness I had at the start,” she added. “It completely wiped me out, and I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail since.

“We’ve got a couple of tours in the diary, and franchise opportunities can crop up. If they do, you’re not going to say no. We also have a Test Match in India in December to start prepping for. But I need a break.”