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Tammy Beaumont interview: I’ve had to reinvent myself to reach 100-cap milestone

Tammy Beaumont - I've had to reinvent myself to reach 100-cap milestone

The nervous nineties are only meant to last a few minutes; maybe an hour if you are particularly unfortunate. Tammy Beaumont has been on 99 for 786 days.

She should have brought up 100 T20I caps in January 2022, when she was in the XI for the final T20 match of that Ashes series, only for it to rain in Adelaide and the match to be called off.

More than two years later, she is finally going to have the opportunity to bring up the milestone in Dunedin on Tuesday, as England take on New Zealand in the first of five T20 internationals.

“Probably when I was on 99 and expecting to play in Adelaide it meant a lot more to me than it actually does now,” Beaumont says from Queenstown, where England are preparing for the series. “Back then I thought it was the sign of being a great player. But now, having been out of the side for some time, I’ve had to reinvent myself as a more aggressive T20 opener; I think if I play it’ll be more about just enjoying my cricket.”

In its own way, it is both a 100th cap and a first cap in the format for Beaumont. An ever-present for England since 2009, her omission from the T20 squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2023 World Cup struck at the core of her identity.

“You almost feel embarrassed that you weren’t good enough to be in the team anymore,” Beaumont says. “I felt like I was having the biggest ‘Fomo’ [fear of missing out] ever and almost just wanted to throw in the towel and be like: ‘Well, you know what, I’ll just throw a tantrum and retire from T20 cricket.’

“It does become your life. You know, I’ve been Tammy Beaumont, international cricketer, since I was 18 years old, it’s an absolutely massive part of my identity. And when you’re not playing well, it certainly doesn’t help your mood.”

But rather than end her career, she changed it. Her mindset as the anchor in one-day cricket was bleeding into her T20 game and that had to go, with her shift over the past two years a mental one rather than technical. She has always been confident in her ability to hit 360 degrees, but now she makes an effort to strike the ball over the offside more and rely on the ramp and scoop less.

As one of the biggest names in English cricket, her two-year absence from the T20 set-up was always conspicuous, but after a double century at Trent Bridge in the one-off Ashes Test last summer and an innings of 118 off 61 balls in the Hundred – the first-ever century in the women’s competition and the highest score in either the men’s or women’s edition – her return to international team looked inevitable.

‘The game’s changed an awful lot’

For the first time, the game that had been changing rapidly over the past decade had caught up with her and she was forced to switch lanes and put her foot down in order to regain her spot.

“The game’s changed an awful lot,” Beaumont says, comparing the international stage she arrived on 15 years ago with the one she plays in now. “I think the key one is the depth of a lot of teams… You have people on the bench that might’ve been playing every game back in 2009.

“I think as well, the power-hitting side and the fielding are two massive points that would be unrecognisable from 2009.”

Beaumont cites domestic depth as the next key area for improvement. It is something she says is already getting better but has to continue to be a big focus, as does the ongoing difficulty many women’s players have with ill-fitting kit.

“I think bats and gloves are definitely getting better,” Beaumont says, citing the Gray Nicholls’ female-specific GEM range that she uses herself. “But quite often it’s not pads and bats but the actual playing kit you’re wearing.”

Over the years, England women have raised concerns about the fit of their playing tops, trousers and caps while their previous Test kit was felt to be too see-through.

England do not play a Test this year, but they do play a T20 World Cup. It is a tournament Beaumont hopes to be a part of to cap a return to being arguably England’s finest all-format player.

“I think if you take the number out of it,” Beaumont says. “The fact I’ve been out of the team for two years and worked my way back in, to be able to say I’ve been resilient enough to stick through some pretty tough times, and if I was allowed to swear I’d say some pretty s--- times, and come back stronger for it, then yeah, I think I will be very proud.”

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