Former Australia captain Lisa Sthalekar has made some fascinating revelations as she spoke about India opener Shafali Varma. The cricketer-turned commentator is known for offering rich insights into the game and never shies away from expressing her opinion if it is against a powerful organization or individual.
While tracing Shafali’s meteoric rise in the women’s international circuit, Lisa revealed how she cut her hair short to play as a male since there wasn’t a cricket team for girls in Rohtak, Haryana.
Despite Shafali’s father pleading with various cricket academies to let her in, she did not get an opportunity which is when she dropped the name “Shafali” and cut her hair short and started training along with male cricketers, disguised as one of them.
Lisa further goes on to reveal how Shafali even impersonated her brother who had fallen ill the night before the match. She was even adjudged the “Man” of the Match for the U-12 tournament.
I impersonated a guy too, but I was playing in the 80s: Sthalekar
“I listen and hear these stories and this is a girl of 17 years of age. Now when I was growing up there was no girls team. I impersonated a guy, but I was playing in the 80s,” she said while on live broadcast during the recently concluded ODI series between India and Australia Women.
“Can you see where Indian cricket is? In smaller parts of the country, you are still trying to deal with the cultural change of ‘females can play the sport and play it really well,’ she added.
Talking about the series, Australia managed to clinch the series 2-1 but India would be happy with their performance especially with their win over the home team in the final ODI on Sunday. India’s win also brought an end to Australia’s record winning streak as the Meg Lanning-led team had won 26 ODIs in a row prior to their defeat in this fixture on Sunday.
India could have even clinched the series had the tight no-ball for height call for a full toss in what would have been the final legal delivery gone in their favour of the home side in the second ODI. However, Jhulan Goswami, who failed to defend 13 runs in the last over of that game redeemed herself as she finished off India’s chase with a boundary as India Women beat Australia Women by 2 wickets and 3 balls remaining.