India eves will play their first-ever day-night Test match and second overall against Australia in their upcoming tour in September-October this year. The bilateral tournament will have all three formats, namely one-off Test, three ODIs, and as many T20Is. Former Australia women’s all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar feels that multi-format series are the way forward to bring back Test cricket in the women’s game.
Lisa Sthaleker on Pink Ball Test
Talking about the pink ball Test, Stalekar said, “It will be a historic moment for the Indian players who haven’t played a pink-ball Test. With the Indians having a series against England in their conditions and then coming out to Australia to play all three formats will mean they have been together for a while and have had some great matches, no doubt against England. More importantly, it shows that the most prestigious format will now be accessible for female players from three countries. I hope other teams get the opportunity to experience Test cricket as well.”
Lisa Sthalekar on Test Matches
Sthalekar, who featured only in eight Tests during her decade long playing career expressed disappointment as she stated, “As a player, you want to see how good you can be in the hardest format, and the fact that there were limited opportunities and the lack of a longer format, it was also quite hard to get everything right in that one Test. I wish we had the opportunity to play more, but hopefully, we will see a resurgence in the longest format now.”
Commenting on the need to introduce a perpetual trophy for Australia-India women’s contests., Sthalekar averred, “Having perpetual trophies means that there will be consistent fixtures between the countries, which is the way forward. Plus, it allows both countries to acknowledge the pioneers of the game and celebrate the past.”
Lisa Sthalekar talks about India’s Shafali Verma
When asked about India’s swashbuckling opening bat Shafali Verma being signed for Sydney Sixers in the WBBL, the former Australia all-rounder expressed, “She is an exciting prospect. I saw her at the women’s exhibition matches in the 2019 edition and then of course up close during the tri-series and the T20 World Cup. She has a lot of freedom when she plays her cricket, willing to take on the bowlers. Shafali loves Australian conditions, so playing for the Sydney Sixers and opening with Alyssa Healy is mouth-watering for all spectators.”
Back in the days when Sthalekar was finding feet at the highest level, she reminisced, “I came into the NSW (New South Wales) and Australian side when Belinda Clark was skipper. There was a wealth of knowledge from the likes of Lisa Keightley, Julie Hayes, Karen Rolton, and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, to name just a few. I learned a lot about the game and the culture that was expected when you represent NSW and Australia.”
Lisa Sthalekar talks about Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy
After Sthalekar, Australia is blessed to have a top-quality all-rounder in Ellyse Perry and a dashing wicket-keeper bat in Alyssa Healy. Showering praise on the duo, she exclaimed, “I have known both of them since they were 11 years old. It has been a real privilege to have them in the programs I was running, to welcome them in as teammates in the NSW/Australian setup, and then finally to become good friends. They are two amazing cricketers that have and will continue to have a huge impact on the development of the game. Both are true professionals of the game.”
Lisa Sthalekar on Women’s IPL
Further, discussing the women’s IPL, Sthalekar explained, “I, like a number of current players and broadcasters, believe that a women’s IPL could take place next IPL. I believe that there is enough domestic talent, and with internationals coming in, it could be such an exciting product. The Indian fans are craving more and more from their women’s team and they have had to wait a very long time to see them. I have never believed in this theory ‘India ought to win a world title first before even contemplating a women’s IPL’. With other countries investing heavily in the women’s game, there are a number of countries that are starting to pull well ahead of others. Therefore, if national boards don’t give the same type of opportunities and investment, I find it hard to see how those countries will win a T20 World Cup.”
The 41-year old staunchly believes that if you market, promote, and give the women’s game its own platform, people and brands are willing to watch and invest. The ICC Women’s World T20 2020 was a classic example of marketing, promoting, and branding women’s cricket.
Sthalekar signed off by mentioning some of the players like England’s Sophie Ecclestone, India’s Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana, South Africa’s Laura Woolvardt, New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr, among many, who will have long successful careers and play a pivotal part in taking women’s cricket forward.
This article is the summary of the original article published by Ayan Acharya on Sportstar
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.