Call comes at the right time for Beams
Former Aussie leg-spinner Kristen Beams to hit the airwaves for ABC Grandstand as she embraces new opportunities after packing away her kit bag for good
3 December 2019, 05:03 PM AEST
Former Australian player Kristen Beams may have called time on her cricket career on Sunday, but rest assured this won't be the last you hear of the Victorian and Melbourne Stars leg-spinner.
Beams revealed in September this domestic summer would be her last; on Sunday she brought that final campaign to a premature end when she announced her immediate retirement ahead of the Stars’ final match of the Rebel WBBL season.
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It means the 35-year-old will not return for the remaining rounds of the 50-over Women’s National Cricket League season, which resumes in January.
"It’s been such a great journey, but you’ve got to know as a player when it’s your time," Beams told cricket.com.au.
"My life’s changed a lot in the last six months, moving back to Tasmania, and knowing the transition was coming, you don’t want to hang on.
"For me it’s always been about contributing and I probably haven’t been able to contribute in the way I would want.
"You’ve got to do it wholeheartedly, I’ve played playing for Victoria for the last 14 years so to do it even a little bit less than every inch of myself, I would think that was very unfair and un-Victorian of me, so it feels like the right time."
Instead, Beams will be sharing her knowledge and insights with listeners on ABC Grandstand.
The Tasmanian-born spinner has been dabbling in radio during the last couple of seasons alongside her playing commitments – now she hopes to put more time into honing that new craft.
She will be hitting the airwaves for the first two Domain Tests against New Zealand in Perth and Melbourne, while she also hopes to play a role in the ABC’s coverage of the T20I tri-series between Australia’s women, England and India in February, and the T20 World Cup beginning later the same month.
"It’s completely nerve wracking sitting there with the experts and commentators," Beams said.
"I’m a massive fan of Ali Mitchell and Jim Maxwell and they’re just wonderful commentators, so to have the chance to work with them and talk about Test cricket, which I love, is really special.
"I’m not completely sure I’m any good at it, but I really enjoy it and just sitting around talking cricket with some of the great voices in this country has been really special."
Beams, born and raised in Launceston, was something of a late bloomer in international cricket.
With no Tasmanian team in the WNCL throughout her formative years, she moved to Victoria in search of opportunity and made her state debut during the 2007-08 summer.
A long-awaited international debut came in August 2014, just months before Beams’ 30th birthday, when she was named in Australia’s XI to play Pakistan in Brisbane.
In all she would play 49 matches for her country, including her standout tour of Sri Lanka in 2016 when she bagged 16 wickets at an average of 5.50 across four one-day internationals and a sole Twenty20, including career-best figures in both limited-overs formats.
While Tasmania entered the WNCL in 2009, Beams continued playing with Victoria, repaying the opportunities given to her.
But recently, she has also embraced a chance to help nurture the next generation of young Tasmanians, having taken on a consultant role with Cricket Tasmania in June this year.
"I’m working with Sara McGlashan who has been a wonderful international cricketer for New Zealand as well so it’s nice to have a chance to be able to give back a little bit," Beams said.
"I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to give back as much as I got from Cricket Tasmania but I’m certainly going to try the next few years."
It’s something that brought an immediate smile to her face when she walked back into Blundstone Arena.
"It’s been really nice, working with some young players," she added.
"It felt a bit weird to put the Tasmanian uniform on, to be honest, but to walk in as a coach and see about 25 girls in the pathway and premier squads … I was thinking, “oh my goodness”.
"I started to feel a bit emotional, because I was one of five girls playing cricket (growing up).
"To think we’ve got so many young, talented girls who get an opportunity to put on a uniform that’s not an oversized men’s uniform which we used to wear back in those days, is something that makes my heart pretty full, to be honest."
After giving her all to playing cricket for so long, Beams is not in a hurry to lock in the next stage of her life.
"It feels like there’s a little window where opportunities arise, so over the next 12 months it feels like the right time to try lots of things," Beams said, crediting a chat with fellow Melbourne Star Ben Dunk for her approach to life post-playing.
"I’m really enjoying the role with Cricket Tasmania … and the commentary stuff as well.
"I’m trying to get a bit of a feel on things and I think, because cricket has been something I’ve done so wholeheartedly, I’m actually not sure where I’ll land in that sense.
"I don’t think I’ve ever had a clear mind to ask myself, ‘what is the next thing I’m super passionate about?’
"So I’m looking forward to working that out over the next six to 12 months."