Kiwi Cross first woman on ICC umpire panel

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2014
Kathy Cross
MAARTEN HOLL/ Fairfax NZ
SHE'S IN: Kathy Cross appointed to ICC umpiring panel.

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Kathy Cross might have become the first woman appointed to an International Cricket Council umpiring panel, but it will be business as usual today.

The newly minted member of the Associate and Affiliate panel hinted that an overseas assignment will be announced shortly. For now, though, she'll be standing in the last day of the Pearce Cup clash between Taita and Eastern Suburbs at Fraser Park.

There are more glamorous settings in world cricket and Cross has seen a few of them, thanks to Women's World Cup appointments in places such as Australia, India, Bangladesh and Ireland.

''But that's not why I do it,'' Cross said this week.

''It's absolutely marvellous to go and see those grand stadiums but, even going to the likes of Naenae Park or Kilbirnie Park, they're still exciting for me because it's another game and a new day. No two days are the same in cricket.''

Since first emerging on the Wellington club scene, in the late 1990s, Cross has earned credit for her calm demeanour and sound judgment. There must have been challenges in coming into a very masculine domain, but Cross quickly won the respect of everyone with the quality of her decision making.

''No matter what my gender I'm just happy to do the best job I can with umpiring. That's me,'' the 56-year-old said.

''I'll be responsible for the decisions I make. I still believe players should be responsible for the decisions they make out there as well.''

For all the attention that Australia and England earned for their behaviour, during the recent Ashes series, club cricket can be even testier.

''I've seen lots, believe you me. Including a few things I try and close my eyes to. And the ears,'' laughed Cross.

''But, as I say, each game brings something different and nothing ever surprises me.''

Cross enjoys all of it and while she's flattered by her ICC appointment, especially given it came with the added honour of being the first woman to ascend to this level, she's not motivated by personal achievement.

''I just love the game of cricket. Then it's just about being out there, observing things, being part of a game but not being in the game, if you understand what I mean.

''You just have to love the game to be involved in umpiring.''

It's a busy weekend for Cross, who will also be adjudicating in tomorrow's 50-over final between Easts and Karori, at Kilbirnie Park.

The match is a replay of Sunday's washout, in which Karori were bowled out for 146 and Easts 9-0 when the heavens opened.

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