Lisa Sthalekar is a pioneer of Australian women’s cricket who has earned many accolades as a captain, player, administrator, coach and cricket commentator. She has been a part of the Australian cricket scene for over a decade and won four World Cups during her playing career. She has led her team as a captain in international as well as domestic tournaments with exceptional results. Even after retiring at the peak of her career, she has continued to be part of the sport by taking up a full-time position at the New South Wales, commentating for television networks like Channel 7 and covering international leagues like the Indian Premier league. She was also the Head Coach for Mosman Men’s Club for 2 years and the youth consultant for the IPL team Rajasthan Royals. Breaking the glass ceiling comes naturally to this amazingly talented sportswoman as Lisa is a founding member of the WICL (Women’s International Cricket League) and the first female to be on the board of directors of the Australian Cricketers’ Association.
Childhood & Early Life
Lisa Caprini Sthalekar was born on 13 August 1979, in Pune, Maharashtra. Her biological parents had given her up and she was living in an orphanage called Shreevatsa, where her adoptive parents, Sue and Haren Sthalekar, first met her. Although they were looking to adopt a boy, as the couple already had a biological daughter called Caprini, Sue was quite taken with Laila (Lisa’s given name at the orphanage) and decided on adopting her.
Lisa’s father Haren was born in Bombay and her mother Sue was English. They lived in Michigan, USA for a few years and for a short time in Kenya, before settling in Australia.
She attended Cherrybrook Public School and earned her high school degree from Cherrybrook Technology, before she went on to study at the Barker College in Sydney. She completed her B.A. majors in religious studies and psychology from Sydney University.
Introduced to the sport by her father, Lisa had already started playing cricket during her school days, where she was part of Cherrybrook’s local West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Cricket Club.
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Lisa Sthalekar was an all-rounder; she was a right-hand batswoman and off-spin bowler. She was the leading all-rounder amongst women cricketers, when the ranking system was introduced in international cricket.
She started playing domestic cricket in 1997-1998 for New South Wales and worked diligently on honing her skills to become a fierce all-rounder excelling with the bat and the ball.
In her career, Lisa has been a prominent player and part of the World Cup winning Australian team of 2005 and 2013, and the T20 World Cup wins of 2010 and 2012.
Lisa Sthalekar made her ODI debut at Derby on 29 June 2001 against England, a game that Australia won by 99 runs. Her last ODI was at the 2013 World Cup final against West Indies, a game that Australia won by 114 runs. She played a total of 125 One Day Internationals.
She made her Test match debut on 15 February 2003 during the England tour of Australia. The Australian team won the match by 5 wickets. Lisa bowled 11 overs, gave away 8 runs and took one wicket in the match. Her last Test match was also against England, played in Sydney on 22nd to 25th January 2011, which Australia won by 7 wickets. She played a total of 8 Test matches.
Lisa’s debut T20 International game was against England on 2nd of September 2005, which Australia won by 7 wickets. While her last T20I match was against New Zealand on 24th of January 2013, which the opposition won by 7 wickets. She played a total of 54 T20 Internationals.
In her international cricketing career spanning over 187 matches covering T20, ODIs and Test matches, Lisa has scored 3913 runs that include 3 centuries, and has taken 229 wickets. She has captained the team in 3 ODIs and won all of them. Her best performances with the bat are a 104 (not-out) in ODIs against India , 120 (not-out) in Test against England and 52 runs in T20 Internationals against New Zealand. With the ball her best performances are are 5/35 in ODI and 4/18 in T20 Iagainst New Zealand and 5/30 in Test match against India.
She retired from playing cricket after the World Cup win of 2013 and now continues to work as a commentator, a coach and mentor.
Lisa Sthalekar captained her team, New South Wales Breakers, from 2005-2006 onwards to win the WNCL (Women’s National Cricket League) title for five consecutive years. In the 2009-2010 session, she scored her maiden century, while reaching an unbeaten 90+ score in two matches. She not only batted fabulously scoring over 1400 runs, with an average of 40+, but also took 60 wickets.
She played a dominant role in Australia’s 2005 World Cup campaign scoring a half-century and taking a crucial catch and a wicket in the finals to win against India, and securing the World Cup.
Awards & Achievements
Lisa Sthalekar became the first woman cricket player to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in One Day Internationals.
She earned the title of the Australian International Woman Cricketer of the year, for two consecutive years – 2007 and 2008.
She was the first woman to become the member of the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association) board in 2014. In 2019 she was presented with the Kerry Packer Award, which is deemed to be the highest honour bestowed by the ACA, to non-members and members who have contributed outstandingly towards serving the Association.
Family & Personal Life
Lisa Sthalekar has dedicated her life to her craft and has worked really hard on improving herself as an all-round player. Even after retirement, she has utilized her time in sharing her knowledge as a mentor or coach and an adept commentator. She has not been married and does not have any children.
She lost her mother Sue, to breast cancer and that was one of the most difficult phases of her life. She briefly talks about this period in her autobiography and how she had slipped into depression after losing her mom.