An emotional Meg Lanning announces her retirement.
An emotional Meg Lanning announces her retirement from international cricket. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

‘It just spiralled’: Lanning opens up on struggles

Oliver Caffrey April 18, 2024

Legendary Australia cricket captain Meg Lanning struggled with “an unhealthy relationship” with exercise and food leading up to her shock retirement.

A self-described private person, Lanning has finally decided to share why she ended her international career last November at the age of 31.

The Victorian took an extended break from the game in 2022, returned to lead Australia to a Twenty20 World Cup title in February 2023, but suddenly pulled out of last year’s Ashes for undisclosed medical reasons.

Meg Lanning shows off the T20 World Cup in 2020.
 Meg Lanning (with trophy) celebrates after leading Australia to a fifth T20 World Cup title in 2020. Image by Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS 

Lanning has revealed she was grappling with an identity crisis outside of cricket that not even her teammates and closest friends knew about.

She was not fuelling her body adequately despite running up to 90km a week and admitted she was in denial about needing help.

“It sort of just spiralled,” Lanning told The Howie Games podcast.

“I was not in a place to be able to go on tour and play cricket and give the commitment levels required for that Ashes series, mentally and physically.

“It was just all out of whack and I kept sliding. At some point, it’s got to stop.

“I felt very out of control in terms of what my future looked like: ‘If it’s not cricket, what does life look like if I am not playing?’.”

At her lowest, Lanning only slept for a “couple of hours” every night.

“I dreaded night time because I knew I would go to bed and not be able to sleep,” she said.

“That would make me so mad. I would just get more angry with myself. If you can’t sleep, you can’t do anything.”

Meg Lanning bats for Australia.
 Meg Lanning plays a cut shot during a 2023 one-dayer against Pakistan in Brisbane. Image by Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

Privately dealing with health challenges, Lanning was still able to perform on the field but could no longer commit to being captain of Australia, a role she had held since 2014, and touring regularly.

“No matter what was happening, I was always able to perform,” she said.

“(But) it had become a bit of auto pilot.”

AAP requested an interview with Cricket Australia regarding Lanning’s comments but received a written response.

“Meg has been an incredible contributor to Australian cricket and we are pleased she felt comfortable sharing her challenges,” high performance and national teams boss Ben Oliver said in a statement.

“The physical and mental wellbeing of our players, support staff and all those working in cricket is a priority for Cricket Australia.

“We are confident the measures put around our teams including doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, physical performance coaches and dieticians provides a high level of support for players who may experience challenges during their careers.”

The superstar batter has continued playing in the Women’s Big Bash League, the National Cricket League and the lucrative Women’s Premier League in India, but has decided against representing Australia again.

She led the nation to a record five T20 World Cup crowns after becoming the Australia’s youngest skipper in 2014, at the age of 21.

A three-time Belinda Clark Medal winner, Lanning scored 8352 runs from 241 international matches after debuting in T20s in 2010.

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