06 February 2020

Sthalekar: When I nearly gave up on cricket

Former Australian women’s cricket captain, Lisa Sthalekar, very nearly gave up on her cricket dreams before they had even begun.

With 125 One Day International caps – and eight Tests – to her keeping, Sthalekar forged a stellar career and will be forever remembered as a pioneer in the modern era of women’s cricket.

But 14 years at the face of the game almost never was, as Sthalekar confronted a crossroads in the formative years of her adolescence.

“I loved my cricket, but tennis was actually my first ‘real love’,” Sthalekar told the SCG Podcast.

“When I was 12 or 13, I was playing boys’ cricket in the morning, women’s cricket in the afternoon. It probably took about two or three years before I got on the radar of rep sides, and things like that.

“I had posters of Steffi Graf, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker on my walls. (Tennis) was the sport that I was playing more seriously.

 “But cricket was ‘my fun’. It was a team sport, and things got a bit more serious with cricket. I found tennis quite challenging and quite lonely at times, as well.”

Of humble beginnings, Sthalekar was born in the Indian city of Pune and later adopted into an American family who would go on to call Sydney home.

“Just like many Australian kids, my first experience of cricket was in the backyard,” Sthalekar said.

“[My Father] was never a great cricketer but he followed it and loved the game… cricket was integral to his upbringing.

“I seemed to be ‘daddy’s little girl’, so I followed my father and did whatever he wanted to do – cricket was obviously one of those things.”

Listen to Lisa Sthalekar’s interview with the SCG Podcast in the player above, or by searching ‘SCG Podcast’ on your preferred podcast outlet.

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