Tammy Beaumont believes the upcoming cricket season is the start of the next 10 years of growth for the sport.
The 29-year-old reached the summit ICC One Day International batting rankings for the first time in her career following an impressive winter series in New Zealand, after becoming the sixth England Women’s player to reach 2,500 runs in the format.
Beaumont made her England debut in 2009 and was a member of the 2017 World Cup-winning squad, but she wants to see the professional game expanded.
Last year the England and Wales Cricket Board decided to offer new professional deals to 41 players as part of regional hubs to boost competition for places at the top level.
“It’s really exciting to know that this is going to be the first year where we’ve got over 40 professionals, training throughout the winter and absolutely ready and raring to go for the summer and I think it’s so good,” Beaumont said.
“The game is just going to go up and up and there’s going to be that real competition for places at the England level but also for those domestic contracts because there’s only five at each region.
“I’d love that there be 11 and the whole team get it but there’s so much competition and so much to look forward to and hopefully we’ll see that standard kick off now and I feel like this is the start of the next 10 years of growth for women’s cricket really.”
One of those to benefit from the new contracts was Tash Farrant, who made her international debut as a 17-year-old and made four appearances in five years before being released from the set-up by then coach Mark Robinson in 2019.
Back in full-time cricket for the first time since then this summer, she caught the eye for the South East Stars in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and won a recall to the England squad for their series against the White Ferns.
“I was really excited and buzzing to be selected for the New Zealand tour and it was a bit of a surprise for me because I was enjoying the winter with the South East Stars and wasn’t really thinking too far ahead and then obviously got that call which was great,” Farrant said.
“I’m happy with how I did, it was definitely something that I can build on and I was pretty raring to come back with Kent and the South East Stars”
On the impact of the contract on her England performances, she added: “I think for me it’s sort of having – for example when I went to New Zealand and played those games for England, which is what I want to do, I felt much more relaxed within my cricket because I felt like I had something to fall back on and it wasn’t all pressure on that game that I need to perform or else I’ve got nothing to fall back on.
“So it’s definitely made me more relaxed having that base and having the team around me and supporting me and the coaches have been absolutely brilliant.”