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September 6, 2007
Lisa Sthalekar, Jhulan Goswami and Claire Taylor are the three players who will vie for the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year award after being named on the shortlist.
Goswami's achievement makes her the lone representative for Indian cricket, with the men failing to reach the final three in their category. Australia are now represented by Sthalekar and Ricky Ponting for the respective Player of the Year awards for both genders - and Ponting has been shortlisted for four awards in all - while England have Claire Taylor and Kevin Pietersen on the shortlists.
The women's trio are hard to separate.
If Sthalekar takes the ultimate honour, this would make it two in two for Australia, after Karen Rolton picked up the inaugural award last year. She played a large part in Australia's dominance continuing unchecked throughout the year. Australia, the World Champions, twice won the Rose Bowl against New Zealand (which they already held) and then took the Quadrangular Series, which is contested by the four leading teams in the world.
Sthalekar contributed six half-centuries in 14 one-day innings, and reached the forties four times. She averaged 67.30, way up on her overall career average of 36.22. Last year she also returned her best bowling figures, of 3 for 64. Australia played no Tests in the eligible period.
India as a team were less successful, but Goswami had a purple patch. She claimed 20 wickets in 16 one-dayers, with a best of 4 for 26. It was in the Test series that she really came into her own - helping India to their first series win on English soil with two five-fors in the second Test. She also made her highest Test score, of 69, in the first.
Taylor had one of her most successful years since her debut in 1998, with three half-centuries, and three centuries, including 156 not out against India, the highest-ever individual ODI innings at Lord's. She also made 115 in the Test.
She said: "It's a great honour to be shortlisted for this award. I've really enjoyed the last year of cricket that we've played, the challenge of playing against the best cricketers in the world at the World Series and against India last summer is what you spend all that time training for."
Gill McConway, ECB executive director for women's cricket, said: "She thoroughly deserves this nomination as a result of her dedication and hard work over the years. Her achievement at Lord's in 2006 is something that will stay in the record books forever and we are all so proud of her."
The trio was whittled down from a long-list of 14, with the full member countries allowed to nominate two players.
The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in Johannesburg on September 10.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.