Bobby Cross delighted to secure Sophia Dunkley signing
Dunkley's Thunder arrival is a win-win: Cross
Sophia Dunkley’s arrival at Lancashire is a win-win scenario, according to Thunder general manager Bobby Cross.
The fledgling England all-rounder, aged 20, has moved from champions Surrey Stars to Emirates Old Trafford for the fourth and final edition of the Kia Super League.
Londoner Dunkley has played 10 times for England in 20-over cricket, including a World T20 final appearance against Australia in Antigua last November.
But she is still figuring out her game, which should be helped by greater opportunity in Red Rose colours this August.
“Initially as a young girl being told that you’re moving from London to Manchester for a couple of months could be a bit daunting,” said Cross.
“But, now, having spoken to her loads about it, she’s really excited about the idea.
“Instead of batting at six or seven behind all the internationals for Surrey, she’ll have a really good chance to bat higher up the order, possibly three, for us.
“It works well for everyone.
“We’ve lost Danielle Hazell, so it gives us a bit more support. And you could look at it and say, ‘This is good because our other three England players are all bowlers’.
“The teams who have historically done well in the KSL have been loaded with batting.
“Look at Western Storm, for example, they’ve had Smriti Mandhana, Rachel Priest, Stefanie Taylor and Heather Knight coming at you.
“To get Sophia is a massive boost for us.
“For her, she’s quickly got her head around the idea that it’s a great opportunity to showcase to Mark Robinson (England coach) that she can perform well ahead of another big winter of international cricket.
“She is really good friends with some of our girls - Sophie Ecclestone, Ellie Threlkeld, Emma Lamb - through the England Academy set-up. They’ve toured together. So it’s not as if she’s coming into an environment where she doesn’t know anyone.”
The announcement of Dunkley’s signing was made by Lancashire last Thursday.
Earlier that week, the Thunder announced the retention of England players Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley and Kate Cross, the latter who has been appointed as new captain in place of Danielle Hazell, who has retired to become the coach of the Yorkshire Diamonds.
“Alex Blackwell (Thunder coach) was really impressed with how Kate was around the group last year and how she thinks about her cricket,” said Cross.
“I have distanced myself from the decision to a degree given Kate is my sister. But she is at the stage of her career where she’s back in the England set-up and performing well.
“We briefly considered an overseas player as captain, but it fits so much better to have a Lancastrian. That’s not to say Danni wasn’t fantastic for us.
“Kate is so excited to be doing it. When she was asked, you could see how much it meant to her.
“England also see it as a really positive move because it’s continued development for one of their players who is seeing a different side of the game and is developing a new set of skills.
“She’s really enjoying her cricket and is happy in everything she does.”
Cross and Blackwell will be assisted this year by new assistant coach Mark McInnes, a highly-rated Australian who Blackwell knows from their time together at Sydney Thunder.
The Red Rose are due to announce their three overseas players and then the full squad during the next fortnight.
Last year they finished fourth in the KSL table, narrowly missing out on a maiden Finals Day appearance.
Join the Red Rose family this summer with a Lancashire Cricket Official 2019 Membership, offering fantastic benefits to supporters ahead of the biggest season of cricket at Emirates Old Trafford.
Membership packages start from just £53, and offer exclusive benefits including access to all home fixtures^, 10% off selected Ashes tickets, mascot opportunities for juniors and much more.