'You are good enough' ... How a few words turned Tammy Beaumont's England career around

England opener Tammy Beaumont Getty Images

It's August 2013 and England have just lost an ODI to Ashes rivals Australia at Lord's. Tammy Beaumont is emotional. She thinks it's her fault. She made nine runs. She questions whether she's good enough to play international cricket.

"Yes you are," three words from then-assistant coach Carl Crowe set in motion a plan to find out what makes her tick, what's going to make her a better player.

Having made scores of 13 and 1 in the preceding Test match, Beaumont played no further part in that Ashes series - won by England who prevailed in the remaining two ODIs and two of the three T20s. Beaumont toured the West Indies later that year and was part of the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, where England finished runners-up to Australia but where Beaumont failed to reach double figures in four innings.

It's 2016 and England have hastily arranged an extra warm-up game before starting their World T20 campaign in India. Beaumont - who had so far been batting in the middle order, just as she had on that fateful day at Lord's - opens alongside then-captain Charlotte Edwards. Beaumont scores 50. She knows she can open the batting at international level.

"That was a bit of a turning point for me," Beaumont said. "Opening, I've always felt most natural there. For a long time at the beginning of my career I was not opening the batting and almost having to fit into positions that didn't suit me, didn't make me feel quite at home and there was a little period where I kept getting picked for England and completely underperforming to what I wanted to do and what the coach at the time wanted me to do, so I'd end up on the outside of the team again.

"It took me having that setback and realising I really wanted to open the batting for England and I could really set my stall out and be motivated to really work hard towards that. That was before I even got the chance to open, then when I did get that chance I made sure that I took it."

Playing as an opener, Beaumont made steady progress through that tournament, but in her first T20 afterwards, some three months later against Pakistan in Bristol, she hit 82 off 53 balls.

Two years later she smashed 116 off 52 in a T20 against South Africa - reaching her century from 47 balls in an England women's record - amid a hugely successful summer which also included back-to-back centuries in the accompanying ODI series against South Africa and ultimately led to her being named alongside the likes of Jos Buttler and Virat Kohli as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year for 2019.

Beaumont's progress has not been without the odd hiccup. She scored just 54 runs in five innings at the World T20 at the end of 2018 but found form again during England's tours of India and Sri Lanka in March.

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"I had a really good summer last year in England against South Africa and New Zealand and then had a bit of a blip in the World Cup in my own form, which I found really disappointing, but I came back in January and worked incredibly hard to try and move my game on again and that's how I feel at the moment," Beaumont said.

"It wasn't like I needed to develop a whole new shot, there wasn't a glaringly obvious weakness to my game. It was just a case of say, I'd hit a shot seven out of ten times, trying to take that to nine out of ten so overall I'd get a little bit better in each way and hopefully become a bit more of an all-round player."

In the recent rain-affected series in which England dominated West Indies, Beaumont was clearly seeing the ball beautifully but was unable to convert good starts to big scores, something she is determined to turn around come Tuesday's first Ashes ODI against Australia in Leicester.

"It's the biggest rivalry in women's cricket ... the battle of the heavyweights" England opener Tammy Beaumont on the Ashes

"Personally I think I would have liked to score a few more runs in a way," she said. "As a batter I think you never get bored of scoring runs but I'm pleased about how I'm playing. I just want to see a few more runs on the board next week.

"It's the biggest rivalry in women's cricket. It's the battle of the heavyweights, for want of a better term. They're really well supported and have been very successful in the past but we're playing really good cricket at the moment and got a really good feeling about this group so hopefully it's going to be a really good series."

England's 3-0 sweep of the ODIs against West Indies and victory in the only one of three T20Is not washed out took their winning streak to 14 matches across all formats. They freely speak about keeping that record intact.

"We really talk about it a lot," Beaumont said. "Particularly at the back end of that India-Sri Lanka trip, it was something we were really kind of desperate to hold on to and going into this West Indies series it was really driving us forward in that.

"But once the Ashes start it's all about that particular game that we're playing and just trying to get points on the board to try and win the Ashes back, which is kind of the main focus and has been for most of the summer really."