Here, JM Finn’s ambassador, Tammy Beaumont discusses the potential watershed moment in the sport, how to avoid cabin fever and the preparation that has gone into this campaign.
We have been out here in the Caribbean for the last two weeks preparing for the ICC Women’s World T20. Following our success in the World Cup in England last summer, the spotlight is on Women’s cricket more than ever. With greater investment in us from the ECB as the England Women's team, domestic structures like the Kia Super League and backing from the ICC in our first standalone T20 tournament (away from the men’s game) there has not been a better time to be a women’s cricketer. The buzz words around those who know the game is that this could be a ‘watershed moment’ in the sport.
In the lead up to this event the ICC (International Cricket Council), the global governing body of our game asked us as players what do we see as being the game changer for women’s cricket. For me, the answer is a difficult one. There’s not one magic wave of a wand that could take the game on to expand exponentially without risk. There are many potential events that could lead to the game ballooning in size. For example, playing cricket at the Olympics or Commonwealth games, getting more free-to-air coverage of international cricket - especially in countries where the game isn’t that accessible, or creating household names to draw people to the sport. However, most of them come back to one key factor... the cricket. The onus is on us as the players to keep raising the standards, playing exciting matches and eye catching cricket. To keep cricket lovers and newcomers alike saying “wow! I had no idea these women could do that!”
As a player, I find that exciting. The onus is on us! Our only focus while we’re here is to win a World Cup but in doing so, who knows where it could lead in the grand scheme of things.
Although we’ve only been out here for two weeks, our preparations started long before now. Back in September, two weeks after the KSL (KIA Super League) finished, we were back in at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough for fitness testing and our World Cup preparations. We’ve had a massive push on fitness and we now need to reach certain targets which are connected to our contracts to ensure we’re doing everything we can to be in the best shape possible. It’s a good incentive because our body is our performance and every one percenter works to our advantage.
Outside of the fitness we had a big push on raising our games. We were lucky the ECB invested in a large tent, a lot like the one from Great British Bake Off (unfortunately with no cake left in it for us), which we could train on real grass surfaces instead of having to prepare indoors. This meant that by the time we arrived in Antigua we were well prepared to hit the ground running. A successful warm up game against South Africa, followed by 2 constructive losses against West Indies and India, we’ve been hit by a new problem.... Tropical storm style rain!! Our warm up game against Australia was washed out without a ball bowled and our final training session before the big first game against Sri Lanka went very much the same. While it’s not ideal preparation, this is the time where all the work we do off the field comes in handy. The work we’ve done with the psychologist on visualisation and routines comes into play when you can’t physically practice anything. Coping strategies we spoke about months ago come in handy for when cabin fever starts setting in from being trapped in hotel rooms waiting for the rain to stop. So now - once the rain stops - there’s nothing left to do but trust in our preparation and let the bat do the talking.
Tammy Beaumont is a brand ambassador for JM Finn.