Kristen Beams keeping herself busy after retiring

New role: Kristen Beams (second from left) with the ABC Grandstand commentary team. Picture: Supplied
New role: Kristen Beams (second from left) with the ABC Grandstand commentary team. Picture: Supplied

Thirteen years after packing her gear into a "banged up" Toyota Seca and boarding the Spirit of Tasmania, Kristen Beams is finally home.

Forced to leave her home state because it did not feature in the national competition, Beams went on to become arguably its greatest female cricketing export.

But after calling time on a career which included one Test, 30 ODIs and 18 T20Is, the 35-year-old Exeter product has moved to Hobart and shifted focus to life in the commentary box rather than at the wicket.

"I get a bit miffed when people don't refer to me as being Tasmanian," she said. "I'm a really proud Tasmanian and always have been."

Beams made her debut for Victoria while still living in Tasmania and then moved to Melbourne permanently in 2006 to follow her cricketing dreams.

Playing as a fly-in player, the spinner was dropped from the Victorian WNCL side during her second year on the books, putting everything into perspective and forcing what she describes as the "hardest decision" of her life.

"I felt like I was at a crossroads and it was to go whole-heartedly to find out whether I was good enough or to stay in Tassie and cross my fingers that we could get a team, not knowing how long that could take.

Finishing her lengthy playing career earlier this month by closing the doors with Melbourne Stars, Beams lists club, state and national victories and premierships as her main highlights and is far from sure what her future holds.

"I think I always worked and studied and did different things to nearly not have to make a decision until I got to this time right now.

"I always felt that I was so whole-hearted about playing cricket that I wouldn't be able to make a decision on what I wanted to do after cricket until it had happened and I feel really fortunate to be in a position where I have so many little touch points."

Mixing Cricket Tasmania coaching duties, travelling to Papua New Guinea to assist their national women's side and being appointed to the Australian Cricketers' Association board, Beams has also been working for ABC Grandstand as a commentator, an experience that has certainly challenged her.

"Honestly, it's so scary to do Test commentary," she said.

"The first time I met Jim Maxwell, I was like this guy is legitimately the voice of Australian cricket. You grow up listening to him call the cricket and Ali Mitchell and so many amazing commentators and I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to do it.

"I'll take any opportunity from a commentary perspective because to go around the country and watch the best of the best and all you have to do is talk about it seems pretty amazing."

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This story Future Beaming bright for retired international star first appeared on The Examiner.