Newly-crowned ICC Women’s World Cup champion and Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars contracted player Lisa Sthalekar has today announced her retirement from international cricket.
The Australian all-rounder’s announcement follows the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ ICC Women’s World Cup finals win in India in the early hours of this morning, beating the West Indies by 114 runs.
In her final match for Australia, Sthalekar took 2-20 and wrapped up the win with a fine catch to dismiss the last West Indian batter.
Sthalekar made her international debut in 2001 in a One Day International (ODI) match against England. She went on to play for Australia in eight Tests, 125 ODIs and 54 Women’s T20 International matches.
The talented all-rounder has made a name for herself with both the bat and ball throughout her career. She has amassed a total of 416 Test runs, 2728 ODI runs and 769 T20 INTL runs.
Her bowling statistics are equally impressive, having claimed 23 wickets at Test level, 146 at ODI level and 60 in T20 INTL matches. She was the first woman to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in ODIs.
When rankings were introduced, Sthalekar was regarded as the leading all-rounder in the world.
The 33-year-old is currently ranked the number one T20 all-rounder and bowler in the world and holds the number two ranking for ODI all-rounders and bowlers.
Throughout her career Sthalekar has been recognised with a number of awards, including the Belinda Clark Award (formerly named the Australian International Female Cricketer of the Year Award) in 2007 and 2008, the WNCL Player of the Year in 2007/08 and 2011/12 and she was nominated for the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and the ICC Women’s T20 Player of the Year in 2012.
She has also enjoyed a great deal of success with the national side, having been a part of the winning teams in the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2005 and 2013 and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in 2010 and 2012.
She was also vice-captain of the national side from 2006 – 2009.
Sthalekar has also achieved a great deal off the field; in 2011 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) Executive, while she has also enjoyed stints in the commentary box and released her autobiography last year.
Sthalekar said the decision to retire from international cricket did not come easy.
“To finish my international career by playing in a successful ICC Women’s World Cup in the country of my birth is quite special for me,” Sthalekar said.
“I feel that this is the right time for me to retire and I’ve been fortunate to be able to represent Australia for as long as I have and to have been a part of some very successful teams.
“Women’s cricket has changed a lot during my time in the game and it’s been an honour to witness this evolution first hand.
"We have seen at this year’s World Cup that the standard of women’s cricket across the world has grown immensely in the last few years alone.
“I would like to continue my involvement in all aspects of the game following my retirement. Cricket has given me a great deal during my life and I want to be able to give something back, whether it be through coaching, mentoring or other avenues.”
“I am looking forward to the next phase of my life and the opportunity to help women’s cricket continue to develop.”
National Chair of Selectors Julie Savage said: “Lisa has been a tremendous player for Australia for a number of years and it’s fantastic to see her go out at the top of her game with a couple of World Cups under her belt this season.
"We’ve seen some tremendous performances that have contributed massively to us achieving those victories in the World Cups,” Savage said.
“She’s also, through her coaching, contributed to the development of the younger players that are now coming through in our group so not only is she contributing on the field but she’s also contributing off the field to the success of Australian Cricket.
“Lisa will certainly be missed but through her coaching and development work she’s actually helping to fill the void that her retirement will leave.
"I’d like to congratulate her on behalf of National Selection Panel on a tremendous career and I wish her all the best for her future.”
Sthalekar will make a decision about her future at state level at a later date.
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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 18 February, 2013 1:22PM AEST