Here, Tammy discusses her route to the top of her game.
How did you get into cricket and at what age?
My older brother and Dad were both keen cricketers when I was younger and as a 6 year old I idolised my brother and copied most things he did. So when the coach asked me if I wanted to stay and join in with the summer cricket camp I had no reservations in saying yes; and getting to play cricket with my big bro! I don’t think I played my first hard ball game until I was 8 years old, when my Dad who ran the local boys Under 11 team, which my brother played in, was struggling to get a team out. I sat down next to him and saw the boys he had left to ask if they could play and said, “But Dad, I can bat better than that one, and eld better than him, why can’t I play!?” My mum was there and said “she’s right, you know!” And as they say the rest is history!
What was it that made you pursue a sport that has typically been the preserve of men?
I just fell in love with the game of cricket. It’s such an emotional rollercoaster, one game you could get out first ball, but take the important catch that wins the game, or you could get a 100 and your team lose. The high points often leave you wanting more. As a youngster I don’t think I realised it was a male dominated sport, although it did take me three years of playing in the boys’ team to learn that there were such things as girls’-only teams. I was just playing the game I loved, regardless of gender.
Did you come across some old-fashioned views when it came to dedicating your life to the game?
As a kid occasionally I’d be told cricket wasn’t for girls but on the whole I was very lucky to be supported by the people who mattered, like family, school teachers and coaches. I do still get asked if I can make a living out of being a professional female cricketer, or if I need a ‘real job’ alongside it.
Are your brothers jealous of your sporting success?
No, completely the opposite, they are incredibly proud and supportive and always have been. I do feel a little bad for my brother as he used to get a lot of sledging telling him his younger sister was better than him (which in my opinion was completely incorrect) but he just took it in his stride and would protect me fiercely if anyone tried to sledge me.
What do you think the benefits are for a mixed team and for a single sex team?
I think there are benefits to both. From my experience, mixed teams give a good variety of characters or personalities, and that diversity can help the team although there is possibly more competition and bravado in a mixed team. Single sex teams sometimes provide a safe environment to work in, where the individuals are more likely to express themselves and take on responsibility without as much fear of failure.
To non-cricketers, it’s about the match tea; what’s the best match tea you’ve had?
You can’t beat a Lord’s match tea. It’s a 3 course meal but unfortunately while we’re playing there is never enough time to enjoy it properly. I have a massive sweet tooth so any kind of dessert is a match tea must for me, but these days we have to be good with what we eat so it’s normally yoghurt and fruit instead of cake!
What advice would you give to a school leaver now looking to follow a career in sport?
A career in sport can be really rewarding, but it is also a harsh world at times. My advice would be to have a lot of interests outside of your sport as well as within. That way you’ll have some perspective to be able to stay grounded. I believe it’s important to know where you want to get to, have that as your goal and be realistic with where you currently are and make a plan on how to get there.
Are you surprised at the success of this year’s ICC world cup in terms of media attention?
I wasn’t surprised at how the ICC World Cup was received by the media and the fans as I think that is a reflection of where our game is at the moment and that it is now an exciting and competitive game. It was amazing that the tournament was the most tweeted women’s sporting event of the year which I guess is a reflection of the exciting games and close finishes leading fans to take to Twitter in those emotional and pressure moments!
What were the pivotal steps that got you where you are now; and future plans?
I took a long time to find my feet at international level. I spent the first 5 years of my career yo-yoing in and out of the team. At the time I had a lot of doubts as to whether I was good enough to play at this level, and I spent a long time trying to fit into the team as a player that didn’t suit who I really was. I finally worked out what kind of person and cricketer I wanted to be and worked towards becoming that every day and only then did my performances start reflecting that.
Is there anything you wish you had been told before playing professionally that you would now pass on?
Enjoy and embrace every minute. Too soon it could all be over, be it through retirement, injury or poor performance, so you might as well get stuck into every moment and have no regrets.
Quick fire questions
- Age: 26
- Born: Dover
- Lives: Loughborough, Leicestershire
- Batting or fielding: Batting
- Sporting hero: Sir Bradley Wiggins
- Female icon: Michelle Obama
- Night in or night out: Night out
- Strictly or X-factor: Strictly
- Favourite film: Shawshank Redemption
- Favourite book: Harry Potter Series
- Twitter or Instagram: Instagram
- Song first on playlist: Chariot by Gavin DeGraw
- If you weren’t a cricketer, you’d be..: A physiotherapist
- Last holiday: A weekend in Barcelona with my brother
- Preferred cricket format: White ball (50 overs)
- Rule change if you were in charge: No ball is a free hit - even in test matches
- Top three cricketers of all time: Kumar Sangakkara, James Anderson & Sir Viv Richards
Tamsin (Tammy) Beaumont is a specialist opening bat and a wicket-keeper and plays for England, Kent and Surrey Stars. She was a member of the winning England team in the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and was voted ICC player of the tournament. She was nominated as the Player of the Year for 2017 at the annual Professional Cricketers Association awards and has been nominated for the Action Woman of the Year 2017 at this year’s BT Sports Action Woman Awards.