Australia’s women’s cricket captain, Meg Lanning, has officially retired from international cricket, citing a loss of the motivation required to perform at the elite level and a desire to explore new opportunities. While she will continue to play domestic cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League the Women’s National Cricket League, and potentially in the Indian Premier League, she has decided to conclude her highly successful international career.
Over a remarkable 13-year span, Lanning led her team to more World Cup victories than any other captain in the history of the sport, securing seven World Cups in total, including the most recent earlier this year. She amassed an impressive 8,352 runs from 241 international matches, which included 17 centuries.
At an emotional press conference in Melbourne, the three-time Belinda Clark medallist stated, “I no longer have the spark or motivation to do what needs to happen at this level, so for me, it’s time to move on.” She went on to express her readiness for new experiences beyond the realm of cricket, acknowledging that the sport had been her life for 13 years, but now she was eager to explore other avenues.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley praised Lanning as “one of the best players in the world over a long period of time” and recognized her role in revolutionizing the sport. He highlighted the legacy of global dominance and inspiration she has helped create within the Australian women’s cricket team, both on and off the field.
Lanning emphasized her feeling of having accomplished everything she aspired to on the international stage, which was a key factor in her decision to retire. She mentioned that she couldn’t be partially committed to anything, and this decision was where she ultimately landed.
Lanning took an indefinite break from cricket in August of the previous year after leading Australia to a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, during which she expressed a need to focus on herself. This break marked a pivotal moment for her reflection on her cricketing journey and life beyond it.
During her absence, wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy was appointed vice-captain and later captain of the team when Rachael Haynes retired in September 2022. Lanning returned in early 2023 to lead Australia to their third consecutive T20 World Cup victory in South Africa, but her participation in the Ashes series in the English summer was cut short due to medical reasons.
Looking back on the past 18 months, Lanning acknowledged that she had gained a different perspective on her place in the game and her motivations. She had been driven by team success, but over time, she found herself reflecting on her desire to continue playing and what she hoped to achieve.
Under Lanning’s leadership, the Australian team achieved an 80% win rate and set a world record for consecutive wins in ODI cricket with 26 victories between 2018 and 2021.