Lisa Sthalekar retired from the game after the Australian Women’s team won their sixth World Cup title in 2013 © Getty Images
Lisa, who was introduced to cricket by her father, was part of two World Cup-winning teams and two World Twenty20 (T20)-winnings teams. Sudatta Mukherjee lists 11 little-known facts about the former Southern Star.
Lisa Sthalekar is one of the most recognisable Australian cricketers today. The former captain of the Australian Women‘s team was born on August 13, 1979 in Pune, India. Lisa was adopted by the US-based Sthalekars who later settled in Australia. Here is a list of 11 little known facts about Lisa Sthalekar –
1. Lisa was introduced to cricket by her father . She wrote in her autobiography, “Unlike my sister, I didn’t want to read or sit in front of the TV. I was an outdoors person. So from the age of five or six he was throwing balls at me in the backyard – and that’s how I got interested in it.”
2. She fell in love with cricket during one of her trips to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). “I said to dad I want to play the game of cricket. Dad wasn’t sure whether girls actually played cricket or whether girls could play in the boy’s team, so he went to the local club, West Pennant Hills-Cherrybrook and asked if I could play. I didn’t know this until a few years ago that there was a few issues, and dad had to go through a few things.” However, Lisa realised that women played cricket when father took her to a match between Australia and England at North Sydney Oval.
3. When Lisa was picked up for her first competitive match at age 14, her sister Caprini crafted her a pillow which read, “Shhh, don’t wake me. I’m dreaming about playing for my country.’
4. Her style of batting was Indian. She said, “I was coached by Australians, Wayne Seabrook and Ross Collins. They were my first coaches and they taught me a wonderful technique, of hitting straight down the ground. But as I got higher up I just managed to be able to squeeze the ball squarer, which is more typical of an Indian player. And that worked well for me.”
5. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Psychology and Religious Studies from Sydney University.
6. Lisa is the first female board member of the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).
7. She is the first woman cricketer to hold the unique double of 1,000 runs and 100 Wickets in One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
8. Lisa is one of the founders of the Women’s International Cricket League (WICL). The jersey of the women cricketers in the league is designed by former West Indies great Sir Viv Richards‘ daughter Masaba Gupta.
9. She made her maiden Test century in her second match against England in 2003.
10. Lisa has been part of 12 successful winning Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) titles and had led her team to five successive titles.
11. She dealt with depression, and her emotional struggle following her mother passing away due to breast cancer. She has written about all these in her autobiography – Shaker: Run Maker, Wicket Taker.
She released her autobiography in India before launching it in Australia. She was quoted as saying by DailyLife, “It was about 20,000, in Vapi (western India). You drive out the back of the town, and you’re heading out to no man’s land and all of a sudden you go into these gates and there’s this pristine, green beautiful wicket. It was a privately owned ground, and there’s a little hill behind it and you could see the people coming down the hill just to watch the cricket. It was just amazing.”
(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)