Tammy Beaumont 'had a word' with herself after doubting her place in England team

Tammy Beaumont flicks a scoop over her left shoulder Getty Images

As soon as she was off the mark, Tammy Beaumont felt at home as an opener just as much as she looked the part, as her polished half-century led England to victory in their T20I series opener against West Indies.

Beaumont scored a second-ball duck the last time the sides met, having returned to the top of the order in England's 46-run win in the group stage of the T20 World Cup in March, after she had played a floating role through the tournament. It was the last international for either side before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, leaving players with an enforced break that Beaumont believes helped her game.

"It's amazing to be back out there and to really kind of kick us off at the top of the order, getting a chance back up there is just really good," Beaumont said after her 62 from 49 balls handed England a 47-run win in the first edition of their five-match series in Derby.

"You have to take that as, you know, your chance. A couple of weeks ago I was a little bit stressed thinking, 'you know, I'm not hitting them that well and could end up out of the team here,' because we've just got such a talented batting line-up at the moment and everyone wants a go at the top or in the top five. It's not unthinkable that I would have been left out.

"So I had a bit of a word to myself, said, 'you've still got a hand in it, you've still got four or five games, just do your best, and just enjoy it and really embrace it'.

"Having three months off fully from cricket reminded me of the reason I started playing, and the little girl that was just desperate to get out in the garden and play. So it was a good time to have a little mental break for me and start loving cricket again."

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The first ball Beaumont faced on Monday was a wild, out-swinging wide from Shamilia Connell, and she punished Connell's third legitimate ball for four through midwicket to get off the mark and settle some nerves.

Not only was Beaumont feeling the pressure of proving herself worthy of her place in the side, but she had also been tasked with setting England off to a strong start, with coach Lisa Keightley identifying batting in the Powerplay as one of the team's key areas for improvement.

"I was quite nervous going into tonight," Beaumont said. "But once I got off the mark I was happy because obviously back in January I got nought against this lot."

As captains Stafanie Taylor and Heather Knight had indicated leading into the series, both teams wore the Black Lives Matter logo on their playing shirts and took a knee in support of the movement before play began.

With England having won the toss and chosen to bat first, Beaumont was able to take part on the pitch in a gesture she felt was extremely important.

"This is our first game and we really wanted to make a stand, particularly for Black Lives Matter," she said. "It's a really powerful moment.

"It's really important for anyone with any kind of platform to really stand up for what matters and certainly, for me, I feel like I've personally been educated since what happened in America.

"It's really opened my eyes to some of the white privilege that I get every day and for me it's really important that we address this issue and stand together, really."

Deandra Dottin, making her comeback from a shoulder injury, didn't bowl but she top-scored for West Indies with 69 from 59 balls. In reaching her fifty, she faced 21 dot balls, which was indicative of West Indies' problem with their run chase against a miserly England attack.

As in the lead-up to the series, Dottin gave questioning over her bowling short shrift, saying only that she wasn't required "because we had enough bowlers".

"The knock for me was pretty good but unfortunately I didn't get that opportunity to bring the game home for the team," Dottin said. "I wouldn't say they were better prepared than us, I just think that they actually came at us hard."