Guts and glory of Lisa Sthalekar

Former Australian paceman Geoff Lawson (left), Lisa Sthalekar, the author of Shaker, and Dilip Vengsarkar during the book launch function at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.-PTI Former Australian paceman Geoff Lawson (left), Lisa Sthalekar, the author of Shaker, and Dilip Vengsarkar during the book launch function at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.

Shaker — By Lisa Sthalekar

— Published by Global Cricket School and Shaun Martyn Associates — Price Rs. 599

From a small adoption home in Pune to one of Australia's leading (woman) cricketers is a journey that is dramatic and inspiring. The stuff that movies and novels would make a killing of. However, when Lisa Sthalekar talks about her life, it reads like a normal story.

Sthalekar traces her life's journey from an adoption home in Pune to her adopted country, Australia. She mentions the people who influenced her life and career — her regular visit to her grandmother in India, and her early visits to the cricket stadium with her grandfather. This brought her close to cricket.

Her early assimilation with the Australian culture seemed to have gone well. She started playing cricket with boys as she says “not many girls played then.”

“When I first started to play I wasn't too keen on displaying the fact that I was a girl so I used to wear long pants and never take my cap off even to bowl. Being a fairly private person I have always been good at keeping things to myself,” she says.

Cricket is her passion and she acknowledges that. “Every time I walk out to play I think and act like an Australian. I plays aggressively to win. The difference is I bat like an Indian… I can't fight nature.”

She has spoken of her close association with McGrath Foundation, especially during her mother's fight against cancer.

Being the first Australian woman to score 1000 runs and grab 100 wickets in One-day Internationals, it is little surprise that she has travelled a lot. In fact, she was in Chennai during tsunami, and was a witness to earthquake while she was in New Zealand. But it is in keeping with her nature that she hasn't' gone overboard either by being melodramatic over her tough times or gloating about her wins.

On the whole if you are looking for some chicken soup for your soul you won't find it in this book. Instead what you will come across is a woman who is strong without being aggro, uncomplaining and celebrating her diverse background not given to too much of a hype — one who plays with a straight bat and is passionate about the game.

R. Venkatnarayan