Beaumont set for century she thought would never come

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Beaumont set for century she thought would never come

It is a case of 99 and hopefully not out for Tammy Beaumont in T20 international cricket, with the England opener now in line for a 100th appearance she feared would never come.

So tough was it being left out of the squad for the shortest format, Beaumont even contemplated making herself unavailable for selection to escape the “heartbreak” of not being picked.

But she ultimately decided to take on the challenge laid down to her by England head coach Jon Lewis to become more aggressive as she looked to force her way back into contention.

After a summer that included a 61-ball 118 for Welsh Fire in The Hundred, Beaumont has been recalled for the five-match T20 series in New Zealand this month.

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Beaumont surpassed Will Smeed as she hit the highest score in the history of The Hundred with 118 off 61 balls for Welsh Fire against Trent Rockets last summer

With Alice Capsey, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Danni Wyatt to miss the first three games due to their WPL commitments, Beaumont looks likely to earn her landmark cap – over two years since she was axed by previous head coach Lisa Keightley and her “ego took a dent”.

Beaumont, who struck 52 from 32 deliveries in a warm-up game against New Zealand A this week, told Sky Sports: “I probably didn’t see the decision for what it was at the time but looking into it a bit more I could potentially understand why I had been left out.

“It was definitely not certain [that I would fight for my place]. My career has always been a bit up and down and there have been times where I have thought about throwing it all in.

“I certainly had moments, particularly last winter, where I wondered about retiring from the format or all of it to avoid any heartbreak of getting that phone call saying I still wasn’t in the squad.

“Every time it was like ripping a band aid off a pretty big wound.

It was about trying to take the game on a bit more, having a boundary focus, getting my strike-rate up. That was the reason given as to why I was dropped in the first place so I knew I needed to make some changes.

“Pride takes over a little bit. You want to be the best in all formats and the ego takes a bit if a dent when you are not in one of them, so it was definitely a tough time.

Beaumont: My career has been reinvigorated

“I made a decision to give it a red-hot crack, jump on board with the way of playing and last summer was one of the most enjoyable playing summers I have had in a long time.

“Whether I play another T20 international or not, I think it has reinvigorated my career and made me enjoy the game again.

“I think I’d come to a point where it looked like it probably wasn’t going to happen for me to play an international T20 again. Who knows, I still may not. Being in the squad is no guarantee you will make a playing appearance.

“I always held that candle hoping I would get back in the team, it was certainly something I was working towards, but I appreciated it was out of my hands.”

Nat Sciver-Brunt, T20 cricket, England (Getty Images)

Image: Nat Sciver-Brunt’s attacking batting in the T20 World Cup inspired Beaumont

Beaumont saw at close range what was required to be part of Lewis’ England T20 side when she worked as a pundit for Sky Sports during last year’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.

England reached the semi-finals and struck the highest score in competition’s history when they piled on 213-5 against Pakistan in the group stage, highlighted by half-centuries from Sciver-Brunt and Wyatt.

Beaumont said: “Before that I had probably been challenged to improve that attacking mindset and been umming and ahing over whether I was good enough to do it but I then saw Nat and Danni go about their business.

“I came away from the World Cup excited about how the team were playing and that made me even more desperate to try to get back involved. It looked so much fun to be a part of.”

‘Franchise cricket is awesome – but we must protect international game’

Beaumont has also had eyes on the WPL, which is coming to the end of its second season – the final takes place on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 2pm.

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Nat Sciver-Brunt was emphatically bowled through her legs attempting her ‘Natmeg’ while playing for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals in the WPL

The 33-year-old sees the five-team tournament expanding over the next few years and for more franchise competitions to pop up. She just hopes that is not to the detriment of the international game.

Beaumont added: “They potentially didn’t realise how big the WPL would get so quickly. If I was the WPL now, I bet they wish they had done eight teams, just because of how popular and well received it has been.

“The crowds at Bengaluru looked insane on TV and there was so much appetite to buy the teams so there is a chance to make it even bigger very quickly.

“We just need to keep it away from international tours and I think the one luxury we have is that we can learn the lessons from the men’s game – their mistakes or bumps in the road, if you like.

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“We need to protect international cricket and it is going to be challenged over the next few years.

“Australia, India and England are the ones that hold the big leagues but there is nothing to stop Pakistan, South Africa and others creating their own when they realise how lucrative women’s cricket can be. Everyone is going to want a piece of it, aren’t they?

“Franchise leagues are awesome for the women’s game but, for me, the pinnacle will always be international cricket.

“There has to be room for both and we have the chance to forge a path that potentially the men’s game can’t undo on their side.”

New Zealand vs England T20 internationals – all fixtures UK time

Tuesday March 19: First T20, Dunedin – 1am
Friday March 22: Second T20, Nelson – 1am
Sunday March 24: Third T20, Nelson – 1am
Wednesday March 27: Fourth T20, Wellington – 1am
Friday March 27: Fifth T20, Wellington – 1am

Stream the Women’s Premier League, Pakistan Super League, England men and women home internationals and more with NOW.

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