In-form leg-spinner Kristen Beams hopes the confidence gained from a breakout tour of Sri Lanka will carry into a massive summer of cricket on home soil.
Beams was the shining light for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars throughout the two-week tour, finishing with 16 wickets at an average of 5.50 across the four one-day internationals and yesterday’s sole Twenty20 including career-best figures in both limited-overs formats.
The 31-year-old claimed multiple wickets in every match of the tour and even her least productive match – 2-20 in the third ODI – was arguably her most threatening spell in Sri Lanka.
Beams had taken just 12 wickets in her 14 ODI appearances prior to this tour, but the complete dominance she's displayed on the island nation saw her jump 16 places to 28th spot among bowlers on the ICC player rankings.
Speaking after yesterday’s Player-of-the-Match performance in the 10-wicket thrashing of the home side, Beams admits she could not have dreamed up a more remarkable tour.
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“I was just excited to be named in the team and happy to be over here in conditions that are a little bit friendly for spin,” Beams told cricket.com.au in Colombo.
“To get named in the team for the first match was really pleasing.
“To look back and have taken some wickets and done my job is awesome.”
The reigning world champions will now return home ahead of the start of the Women's National Cricket League season on 13 October, while also turning their attention to South Africa for a five-match ODI series in November.
Australia currently hold a five-match lead in first place on the ICC Championship table and will be hoping to maintain their hold on top spot in the final three matches of the cyclical series against the Proteas.
Beams knows the conditions the team will experience in Canberra, North Sydney and Coffs Harbour will be vastly different to what she was able to enjoy on her maiden ODI tour of the subcontinent.
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“First port of call is to get home and hopefully play some really good for Victoria and my amazing club Essendon Maribyrnong Park,” Beams said of her summer ambitions.
“That’s first on the list and I’m really looking forward to hopefully being a part of that South African series as well.
“It will be a bit tricky on good wickets, so I’ll probably need to be a bit more tactical in trying to get a few wickets.”
While Beams certainly thrived in the conditions in Sri Lanka, it would be silly to suggest she was simply making the most of raging turners in Dambulla and Colombo.
The leggie brilliantly combined daring flight with subtle variations in pace to leave opposition batters with few options to survive, let alone score.
Like many of the Southern Stars, Beams has made the most of winter training camps at the Bupa National Cricket Centre where a key focus has been slightly altering her point of release – in consultation with bowling coach Joe Dawes – to be closer to the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
“Keeping a simple plan is important and just to keep attacking those stumps,” Beams said of her bowling strategy here in Sri Lanka.
“When the ball is turning it’s going to give you a little something in there, you’re generally getting a few wickets with the ones that aren’t turning as well.
“We’ve certainly been challenged more. The game is more professional now, we’re fitter and stronger.
“I was also working on some technical stuff from a bowling point of view and they keep challenging me to keep attacking those stumps and try to be a wicket-taker.
“It’s nice to be able to take a few!”