Lisa Sthalekar, the Australia women's allrounder who was part of Sunday's World Cup-winning team, has announced her retirement from international cricket. Sthalekar said she did not want to cut ties with the game following her retirement, but planned to remain involved and help women's cricket develop further.
"To finish my international career by playing in a successful 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."
On Sunday, Australia beat West Indies in the final of the World Cup in Mumbai by a whopping 114-run margin. Sthalekar put on a fine show, claiming the big wickets of West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira and big-hitter Deandra Dottin, and then closed out the game with a spectacular diving catch.
It was Sthalekar's 125th ODI, and she remains the only woman to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in the format. She finished with 2728 ODI runs in all, at 30.65, and 146 wickets at 24.97. That puts her at No. 10 on the all-time women's ODI batting charts, and at No. 3 for Australia. Her ODI wickets' tally is third-highest in history.
In international Twenty 20 cricket, too, she has made quite an impact, taking 60 wickets at 19.35 - the second-highest aggregate among women. Sthalekar also played eight Tests in an international career that spanned 12 years and included two titles each in 50-overs World Cups and World Twenty20s.
"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," Sthalekar said. "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. 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 opportunity to help women's cricket continue to develop."
Off the field, Sthalekar became the first woman to be appointed to the Australian Cricketers' Association Executive in 2011.
Julie Savage, Australia's chief women's selector, highlighted Sthalekar's contributions towards the development side of the game: "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. She also, through her coaching, contributed to the development of the younger players that are now coming through in our group.
"So, not only was she contributing on the field, but she was 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."