England star’s dad won FA Cup holding lucky pig and she carries on superstition

Kate Cross is the England cricketer who has carried on a family fortune in bringing home the bacon.

Forty years after her ­father won the FA Cup for West Ham, clutching a lucky pig charm in his fist for 90 minutes at Wembley, Cross has her heart set on winning the women’s ICC World Cup in New Zealand next year.

Back in 1980, ­Hammers physio Rob Jenkins ­noticed that every time they saw a pig on the coach journey to an away game, striker  would score.

Jenkins bought Cross a miniature silver pig as a good-luck trinket, and he was holding it throughout the Irons’ 1-0 win against Arsenal in the Cup final – the last time West Ham lifted a major trophy.

The charm was handed down to Cross’s daughter, and it was the pork of the town on her rise to prominence as an Ashes winner in 2013-14, where she made her England Test debut.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing however. After the first three years of her ­international career, Cross needed a break to address issues of anxiety.

And last winter, more bad luck struck when she ruptured ankle ligaments after landing on a ­boundary rope attempting a catch during a T20 World Cup warm-up in Sydney.

Cross, 28, told the Soccer Fellas podcast: “The lucky pig has been handed down as a generational thing, but it’s not always as lucky as we make it out to be.

“My brother gave it to me when I went on my first England tour, and I ran back into the dressing room to look at it just ­before we went out for my one-day debut.

“I took four wickets, got the man-of-the-match and, suddenly, this pig is the best thing in the world.

“It has become a ­legend. When I’m bowling, the girls call me ‘Piggy’ for ­encouragement and I have a necklace with a little pig on it.

“When I was injured, and the girls ­realised I was very sad about it, they even went out and bought me a bikini with pigs on it because they know that pigs run in the family.”

Medium-fast bowler Cross admits England have work to do if they are to repeat their World Cup glory of three years ago, when an inspired fightback at Lord’s pipped India by nine runs in the final. She said: “We’ve had an ­interesting 12 months – we’ve gone from the high of the 2017 World Cup, and the girls lifting the ­trophy, but since then we’ve not achieved anything.

“We had a shambolic Ashes and bowed out of the World T20 in a manner which was very unfair.”

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