For all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar, the World Cup win is something she will ‘never change for anything in the world’
The first player to achieve the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Women’s One Day Internationals, Australia Women’s Cricketer of the Year two years in a row (2007, 2008), and recently, the highest all time wicket-taker in the WNCL claiming 150 scalps, Lisa Sthalekar’s cricketing career is playing out what she truly believes—that cricket runs in the blood of all Indians. Lisa, who has also been part of 12 successful winning WNCL titles and led the team to five successive titles, was born in Pune, India, but later adopted by Haren and Syu Sthalekar, a couple who lived in the US before settling in Australia when she was four years old. Lisa was introduced to cricket by her father in backyard games.
Though she has several titles and wins to her credit, Lisa believes that women’s cricket is an untapped market. In several interviews, Lisa has stated that there were days when she questioned what she was doing. “I have seen a lot of players give up the game before their time because of career, or the fact that they were missing time away from family or their partners. It is sad to see those players not reach their potential in cricket. But everyone has a choice to make,” she has said to the media.
Lisa plays for Australia (Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars), New South Wales (Lend Lease Breakers) and Gordon Women’s Cricket team. One of the key players in the team, she is a right-handed all-rounder who bowls off spin and was rated as the leading all-rounder in the world when rankings were introduced.
Lisa made her debut in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) late in 1997–98 as a specialist bowler. It took her a number of seasons to go up the batting order and it wasn’t until Belinda Clark left that she had the opportunity to open the batting in 2001-02. This was after she was called into the Australian team in 2001 for the first time. Playing as a bowler, she made her One Day International (ODI) debut against England and ended the tour of the British Isles with five wickets from as many matches.
In early 2003, she made her Test debut against England and made 120 not out, her maiden century, in her second match. One of her greatest highlights came when playing in the 2005 World Cup triumph in South Africa and scoring 55 against India in the final.
Apart from cricket, Lisa completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Religious Studies and Psychology. She is currently working or Cricket NSW as the Youth Program Manager for female programs.
She has also written a book, in which she talks about her achievements and her struggle to overcome depression, especially when she lost her mother to breast cancer. But says the hard-hitter, the setbacks helped put life in perspective for her.
“There are days when you question what you are doing. But I have had three moments now where I have been able to win a World Cup, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world,” Lisa has been quoted as saying.