England’s old and new conspire to spoil Jhulan Goswami’s party at Lord’s
A Lord’s final to mark the end of India’s tour of England on Saturday will serve up plenty of nostalgia with a big helping of the future.
“I feel incredibly old at 31. But that, for me, is exciting. I think a few years ago, before Hundrede, before KSL really started, that if you had chosen so many people who had less than 10, 15 caps between them, you wouldn’t necessarily compete with the opposition.
“I know we haven’t played well at times. But at the same time you look at the T20 squad, how they went about things, how much the young players come in and perform straight away. When I started, it took us 20 matches to actually perform for England and really announce yourself on the world stage.”
Beaumont found herself at the wrong end of England’s youth policy this summer when she was overlooked for the T20 squads to compete against South Africa, India and the Commonwealth Games, leaving her stranded on 99 T20I appearances – so far. England’s abandonment of their planned tour to Pakistan and a rain-hit part of the Ashes series did not help.
“I think it’s one of those things that just doesn’t seem like it’s meant to happen at the moment,” Beaumont said. “I haven’t retired from T20 cricket or anything like that and hopefully I’ll come back and maybe play one more game, but the girls did really well this summer. They played really good cricket. So there’s not much you can do about it.”
England won the T20 leg of India’s tour 2-1 but are 2-0 down heading into the final ODI, meaning they only have ICC Women’s Championship points and pride to play for.
But there is also a huge sense of occasion to return to Lord’s for the first time in five years – too long an absence in Beaumont’s opinion. With his 2017 teammates Heather Knight (hip injury), Nat Sciver (mental health break) and Katherine Brunt (rested), Beaumont is one of only two players in the England squad, along with Danni Wyatt (in 2011 and 2012). to have played an international match on the ground.
“I think it’s way too long,” Beaumont said. “For some of the girls that were involved in it [World Cup final] game to never come back in the last few years, it’s been a real shame.
“I’ve got a lot of nostalgia coming here. I’ve been coming to Lord’s and training here since I was about 13 years old. I’ve got a lot of memories going into the place, a really good feeling about it.
“Even at the beginning of my career, we used to get at least one game a year here… so I think it’s a sign of the times that we’re getting a bigger crowd here. But I think it’s something , that potentially should have happened a little bit sooner, and it’s a place we should be able to come and play more often. It’s great to see that starting to happen, and hopefully it will continue to happen more regularly.”
The balance will be restored next year when Lord’s hosts the third T20 in a Women’s Ashes series that will see matches played at Test venues around the country, including a five-day Test at Trent Bridge, giving Beaumont plenty to see until.
“It’s been a tough year and I don’t think there are that many highlights to be honest,” she said. “The World Cup was very difficult after a very tough Ashes. To be part of that Test match in Canberra is a highlight for me, even though it ended in a draw.
“It showed that women’s Test cricket is very much alive and kicking. I think when you play a Test match you always question whether people will ever want to see another one with women’s Test cricket, but it certainly shows to me that my value in Test match cricket is justified and worth continuing.
“The ODI series against South Africa was obviously another good one, but apart from that, it’s been really, really tough for me, missing out on the T20s and also not performing the way I would have liked for most of the year. “
However, victory over India on Saturday has the potential to end the season with, as Beaumont put it, “a better flavour”. But they will be up against it with their opponents determined to send Goswami out on a high.
“It’s not just what she does on the field,” Beaumont said. “She’s an absolutely lovely person. She’s been fantastic for the game and she’ll be a very big loss but I think it’s great that she’ll get a good send-off at Lord’s and hopefully something special but not too special, ” she added with a laugh.
Valkerie Baynes is editor-in-chief at ESPNcricinfo