Lisa Sthalekar has been hailed as a “cricket trailblazer” and her contribution to and standing in the game has been duly recognised with elevation in to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
A four-time World Cup winner as a player through her 125 One Day Internationals and 54 T20 Internationals for Australia, Sthalekar went on to become one of the strongest advocates for the increased professionalism of the women’s game.
Sthalekar has served on the board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and as a director with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).
Her championing of the women’s cause is one of the reasons Australia’s women’s cricketers are the best paid in the world.
It was her enormous contribution as a player, advocate and now internationally recognised broadcaster, with her voice a constant presence during the Australian summer, that prompted Hall of Fame officials to induct her into the elite group.
“Lisa Sthlalekar comfortably sits at the table of women’s cricket trailblazers alongside Belinda Clark, Karen Rolton and Melanie Jones, and the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is delighted to welcome her as the latest inductee,“ chairman Peter King said.
“As the Australian women’s cricket team conquers all before them, it has been Lisa’s passion and skill as a cricketer and her courage and determination in her post-cricket career that has driven elite standards of professionalism in the women’s game.
“She left the sport as a four-time World Cup winner and a plethora of personal accolades but has continued to advocate and champion the women’s game as an administrator, commentator and ambassador.”
Sthalekar’s journey to the elite levels of cricket is remarkable.
Born in India, in Pune, she was orphaned before being adopted by parents who moved her to the USA, Kenya and finally Sydney where her adoptive father, Haren, introduced her to the game.
She came through a period where playing in boys teams was the only option for young girls but soon proved a standout and rose through the NSW ranks to make her international debut in 2001 in an ODI against England.
Sthalekar went on to become one of the world’s elite spin bowling all-rounders during a 12-year playing career and scored 3913 international runs, including three centuries. She also took 229 wickets
She captained Australia in three ODIs against New Zealand in 2006, was named Women’s International Cricketer of the Year in 2007, was a two-time Belinda Clark medallist and in August last year became the 27th Australian to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
There’s no clearer indication of Sthalekar’s impact on Australian cricket than being just the fourth woman to be inducted among 57 members of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
Long-time teammate and now Cricket Australia board member Mel Jones hailed her tag-team partner now in commentary boxes around the world as a “strong voice” across both the men’s and women’s games.
“Lisa thoroughly deserves to be inducted in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. She now rightfully sits among the absolute elite cricketers of the women’s game,,“ she said.
“I was fortunate enough to play with Lisa and witness her develop as an outstanding all-rounder in all three formats of cricket. Since retiring, Lisa has been a commentating mainstay around the world and not only continues to play an important role in building the profile of the women’s cricket, but more importantly is a strong voice across both the men’s and women’s game.
“This induction is fantastic recognition of Lisa’s hard work, and on behalf of Cricket Australia, I want to congratulate Lisa for her incredible contribution to the game on and off the field.”