The petite, 26-year-old woman in front of me hopes to rule the world of cricket for the foreseeable future.
And why shouldn’t England batter Tammy Beaumont consider the sky the limit? Her team has recently won the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 and the best is yet to come.
“It’s only the start for us,” she tells me on a rainy day at Lord’s cricket ground in London. “It’s more than just one World Cup – we want to dominate the world for a while now.”
With Tammy playing on their side, the England team might well achieve this: she was named player of the ICC Women’s World Cup following their triumph against India.
“It’s really surreal actually,” she admits of the achievement. “In my head, it was always something that the best players in the world would have won and I would never have put myself in that category. I’m really honored to have been chosen, though. I still can’t believe that many people wanted to watch us!”
Tammy Beaumont in her England team kit. Credit: Tom Shaw/ECB.
Modesty appears to be a recurrent theme in my conversation with the Kent-born brunette. Despite her amazing success, she is keen to stress that, in many ways, she’s just a normal girl who happens to have a wonderful and highly-talented group of friends.
In fact, if there was a #girlsquad to want to be a part of, this team is surely it. “The best things about playing on the England team is that it feels like we’re just playing with our mates,” shrugs Tammy. “A lot of us are around the same age and we definitely have a really strong team connection.”
So tight is the connection, in fact, that Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Natalie Sciver, Beth Langston and Amy Jones live together, and the squad often go round to walk their dog and catch up, while Tammy frequently enjoys a round of golf with some of the girls, not to mention various shopping trips.
The England team celebrate their World Cup win at Lord’s. Credit: Tom Shaw/ECB.
But life isn’t all team quizzes and group cinema excursions. The squad all train together at Loughborough three full days a week, focusing on strength, speed and fitness along with key cricket skills, as well as working on their individual development outside of that. On tour, they’ll train for two to three hours every day with only the odd rest day.
It’s not all physical, though. Tammy admits that the emotional preparation required in the lead up to a match is vital. “Some of our games in the World Cup took quite a lot out of us,” she says. “It was really important that we made sure we looked after ourselves. I get very nervous before a match, which is actually something that used to hold me back in the past, but I’ve learnt to use my nerves to fuel my performance.”
“I try to keep things simple and remind myself of what I’m trying to do and stay calm,” she continues. “I say to myself: ‘Watch the ball and let it take care of itself, one ball at a time and stay in the moment.’ It’s much better to think that than: ‘Oh my days, there are 28,000 people watching us at Lord’s and if I mess up it’s going to look silly!’”
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That said, Tammy is happy to divulge she has looked silly more than once on the pitch. “I once managed to throw the ball backwards instead of forwards,” she says sheepishly, “and in the World Cup semi-final I dived to get in and ended up with grass all down the insides of my trousers. It was so itchy I had to pull them down! Apparently, my mum was sat next to a cameraman and she told him, ‘Don’t you dare film that!’”
Of course, none of these antics – which the cheerful Tammy happily laughs about now – prevented her from performing brilliantly in the tournament, with 410 runs in nine matches at an average of 45.55 per game.
Tammy bats in the World Cup final against India. Credit: Tom Shaw/ECB.
So how did the team celebrate their resounding success? Unlike Freddie Flintoff’s alcohol-fueled debauchery following England’s 2005 Ashes win, the team seems to have had a relatively relaxed celebration.
“We stayed at the ground until about 9pm,” Tammy reminisces. “We went into the changing room, sang our team song and invited in all the coaching staff and the players that weren’t selected in this squad of 15 who have been training with us all year. We had a few speeches from the head coach, head of cricket, Clare Connor, and our captain Heather Knight and then we stood around in our playing kit signing each other’s shirts.”
Interestingly, Tammy seems reticent to divulge how heightened their festivities became. “We spent a good few hours in one of the suites here at Lord’s with our family and friends and then we carried on into the night…” she says, grinning at me.
(From L-R) Danielle Hazell, Lauren Winfield, Georgie Elwiss, Danni Wyatt, Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont gather in Brighton ahead of the Kia Women’s Super League in May. UK. Credit: Tom Shaw/ECB.
The sold-out final at Lord’s is considered the most-watched women’s cricket match of all time worldwide and Tammy is well aware of the power she and her team now wield when it comes to inspiring others to play cricket.
“It’s not necessarily just about what we do on the pitch but making sure we leave a legacy after this World Cup. For girls to have cricket as a career option is quite a new phenomenon,” she says. “It was amazing to see so many young girls coming to the games and asking for autographs and selfies. I just can’t believe it’s us as a group who are becoming the role models; it’s absolutely incredible.”
Could the England victory herald a new era for women’s cricket? “When you ask any of our squad who our heroes are, it’s normally a male cricketer,” says Tammy. “Hopefully this generation might now say Anya Shrubsole or Heather Knight and maybe even Tammy Beaumont,” she laughs self-consciously. “That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?”
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