Skilled, smart, sassy and sporty; a new breed of female cricket heroes have emerged with the unveiling of the Commonwealth Banks Southern Stars’ glamorous new look this week.
In a series of black and white images shot by internationally acclaimed photographer Kiren Chang, Australia’s female cricketers reveal a softer side to the steely determination they display on-field. The 13 image media kit is part of Cricket Australia’s effort to redefine the image of women in cricket leading into next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup, when Australia will play host to the 25-match tournament in six venues across Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle and Bowral.
Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars all-rounder, Lisa Sthalekar, formed part of the 2005 team that defeated India to win the title at the Women’s World Cup in South Africa and is positive they’ll enjoy success again next year.
“It will be a tough one to win, but we will be giving it our all. Winning is about focusing on what we need to do as a group and not letting the emotion get the better of us.”
At just 29, Lisa boasts more than 20 years experience on-field and counts hard-work and discipline among her secrets to sporting success.
“I first discovered cricket through my father’s love for the game. He didn’t have a son to share his passion and compared with my sister – who never played outdoors - I seemed to show some promise. That’s where it all began,” she said.
“I would advise any young girls who hope to become an elite sportswoman to remain dedicated and be willing make a few sacrifices along the way.”
Lisa’s thoughts are echoed by teammate, Ellyse Perry. At just 17, the self-confessed tom boy is the baby of the team but has already made her mark for her country.
“The World Cup is going to be a really close tournament, although I’m sure we’ll play well and hopefully win!”
“My favourite cricketing memory was my debut for Australia last year in Darwin. Walking out onto the field, in my Australian uniform with amazing people and being able to play along side them was pretty fantastic. I am really looking forward to doing it again at the 2009 World Cup.”
The images are not only capturing the attention of aspiring female sportspeople across the country, the girls are also making their mark on Australia's male cricket champions.
Australian Men's Cricketing Champion, Mike Hussey, once the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world says he and his teammates are taking notice.
"The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars have really taken women's cricket to a new level of skill - and style - over the past few years. After years of being out shadowed by the blokes, it's now our women who are stealing the spotlight, particularly after their 2005 World Cup win, and now with the World Cup coming up in 2009. It certainly keeps us inspired," said Mike.