LONDON: Lisa Sthalekar has become the first woman to be appointed president of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA). The former Australia captain was confirmed at the FICA Executive Committee meeting held in Nyon, Switzerland. She will take up a position that has previously been held by former South Africa batter Barry Richards, former West Indies allrounder Jimmy Adams, and most recently by former England batter Vikram Solanki. Sthalekar, 42, represented Australia in 187 international matches, and played a key role in the team’s victory during the 2010 T20 World Cup final, helping them defend 106 against New Zealand. Sthalekar also received the prestigious Belinda Clarke award, given to Australia’s best women’s international player, in both 2007 and 2008. “I’m extremely honoured and excited to be FICA’s new president,” she said. “We are entering a new phase of the game which covers more cricket than ever before for our male and female players. More countries are playing the game which demonstrates that cricket is certainly becoming a global game. “I look forward to working on behalf of our member players’ associations and players, and in particular to working with the ICC to ensure that all players have their rights protected and can work in partnership with administrators to make our game even better.” Sthalekar made her debut as a hard-hitting batter for Australia in 2001. She was at her best in ODIs, scoring 2728 runs in 125 games with two centuries and 16 fifties. Her offspin was a highly effective weapon as well, so much so that she still remains among the top 10 wicket-takers in 50-overs cricket. Sthalekar ended her career in 2013 as a World Cup winner, picking up 2 for 20 in the final against West Indies. In 2021, she became only the fourth woman to be inducted into the Australian cricket Hall of Fame. A familiar voice in the commentary circuit, she also has prior experience in the field of player welfare, having worked extensively with the Australian Cricketers’ Association. “Lisa was clearly the best candidate and her credentials are unparalleled as both a former player and broadcaster,” FICA’s executive chairman Heath Mills said. “Her previous roles as an independent director of FICA and on the board of the Australian Cricketers’ Association demonstrate her long standing commitment to the players’ association movement and advancing player rights.” The Executive Committee meeting was held ahead of the FICA and World Players’ Association Player Development Conferences, and was the first in-person meeting of the group since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Executive Committee discussed a number of significant issues for players and the game at the global level, including receiving presentations from the WPA’s executive director Brendan Schwab and ICC CEO Geoff Allardice.