Pune orphanage to ICC Hall of Fame:Here’s a look at Aussie cricketer Lisa Sthalekar’s inspiring journey
Behind every success story, there is a tale of grit and gumption. A lot of sweat and struggle that has gone into the making. Cricket fans are fortunate to have such inspiring stories in abundance.These stories motivate and inspire people to tackle hardships and conquer them. Lisa Sthalekar, who has been in news off late for her induction into the ICC’s Hall of Fame, has lived a story that is nothing short of a movie script where the protagonist wins her hardships in a heroic manner.
Her journey sets an eye-opening precedent for people who have given up on their lives. Very few people are aware of the fact that Lisa was adopted by her foster parents from an orphanage in Pune. Her motherland is India and to the surprise of many of her fans and readers, her real name was Laila. Unfortunately, her biological parents were not resilient enough to support her and had to leave her in the orphanage.
As it turns out, a couple from the USA paid a visit to the orphanage to adopt a son. But their eyes were glued to the little girl in the corner. That momentary glance at Lisa did it all and soon the paperwork was done. The little kid was taken back to America. After spending four years in the US, it was time to set foot on African soil. Lisa resided in Kenya as her family shifted there. Later on, they moved to Australia. It was in Australia, as is known to all, that Lisa scripted her illustrious cricketing journey to become one of the best women cricketers of all time.
Representing Australia, she dominated the cricketing world as an all-rounder from the year 2001 till 2013. She has represented Australia in 187 games across all the formats. In all her appearances, she has amassed close to four thousand runs and two hundred wickets. Her allrounder abilities made a significant contribution to the Australian women’s cricket team during that phase. For her keen interest in cricket, she credits her supporting father. She says that
“My father loved the game and I spent a fair bit of time with him in the backyard every weekend. I would have been about 8-9 when I fell in love with the game and wanted to play it all the time”.
This marked the beginning of her cricketing journey. Little did she know that the small backyard cricket sessions with her father would be the setting stone for a long career representing Australia.
In the year 2002, the media publication The Guardian reported that Lisa paid a visit to the orphanage in Pune where she was adopted by her foster parents. Going there brought back a flashback of stirring memories. She realized the dramatic manner in which her life had unfolded and had been shaped by the Almighty. Lisa, in her book titled ‘Shaker’, has let her soul out and spoken in detail about her eventful life. In her book, she shares extremely personal stories and we all know how difficult it is to let the world show that side of yours that is vulnerable and personal. But she believes that would make her real because that is what made her what she is today. She says
“It is hard sharing extremely personal parts of your life. Though I guess if others were to read and felt something similar at least they would know they aren’t alone in this and that they can relate to similar life experiences , Also, some of the lessons I learned might be useful to those going through something similar phases in life”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has inducted Australian cricketer Lisa Sthlalekar into the Hall of Fame alongside South Africa’s prolific allrounder Jacques Kallis and Pakistan’s fast bowler Zaheer Abbas, who also got inducted in the coveted ICC Hall of Fame.
“From the year 1978 when i was three weeks old to this time when I am getting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame, it surely has been a long, arduous but immensely gratifying journey”
Former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame in 2020 for a stellar cricketing career spanning several World Cups. She became only the ninth woman cricketer — and the fifth from Australia — to receive the prestigious honour.
Her career boasted four World Cup wins, eight Test matches, 125 one-day internationals and 54 internationals in the 20-over format.
She continues to work off the field having ventured into cricketing commentary, coaching young cricketers. She also has been an administrator in various cricketing associations imparting her knowledge to the best of her abilities.
Cricket is a sport dominated by men. Times are changing and the sport demands equal female representation. Lisa Sthalekar, who has had quite a movie-script journey in her cricketing career and life, is the kind of woman the sport needs and deserves to be truly a global sport.