Meg Lanning has stunned the cricket world after announcing she's taking an indefinite break from the game.
Just days after the Aussie captain led her all-conquering side to gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the 30-year-old said she was stepping away with no fixed timetable for her return.
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"After a busy couple of years I've made the decision to take a step back to enable me to spend time focusing on myself," Lanning said in a statement.
"I'm grateful for the support of CA (Cricket Australia) and my teammates and ask that my privacy is respected during this time."
The Aussie women's side's gold medal victory in Birmingham capped a chaotic two-and-a-half-year run of success, which included a World Cup triumph earlier this year.
Cricket Australia women's head of performance Shawn Flegler praised Lanning for her brave move.
"We're proud of Meg for acknowledging that she needs a break and will continue to support her during this time," said Flegler.
"She's been an incredible contributor to Australian cricket over the last decade, achieving remarkable feats both individually and as part of the team, and has been a brilliant role model for young kids.
"The welfare of our players is always our number one priority, and we'll continue to work with Meg to ensure she gets the support and space she needs."
After making her debut at 18, Lanning has broken all manner of records and holds the mark for most centuries in women's one-day international cricket.
She has led her country in 171 matches after becoming captain at age 21 in 2014.
The loss of Lanning comes ahead of Australia's T20 tour of India in December and after the departure of head coach Matthew Mott, who led the team for seven years.
Teammate Alyssa Healy previously told cricket.com.au: "Getting the captaincy so young, she's had a big responsibility on her shoulders for the majority of her career now.
"Sometimes you worry that maybe they're not going to enjoy themselves, enjoy their career as much.
"But I think 'Motty' (former head coach Mott), and having some really good senior players around as well, has probably enabled her to just enjoy it, and let things happen organically. It's not that she's forcing change or anything, it's just happened over time."
Wishing Meg Lanning all the best.
Shows that even a sustained period of enormous success can take its toll on a player. https://t.co/acbV8TKF6G
— Raf Nicholson (@RafNicholson) August 10, 2022
Best wishes to Meg Lanning who is taking an indefinite break from cricket 🙏
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) August 10, 2022
Ofcourse made us all so proud 🤗
— Rohan (@Rohan54226801) August 10, 2022
All the best Meg. Come back strong
— shane scott (@scottiedevil11) August 10, 2022
Good on Meg for making what I would think was a tough call.
Hope to see her back when she is ready.
— journalistagendas (@journalistagen1) August 10, 2022
— Umair (@imumair10) August 10, 2022
Meg has earned as much time off as she needs 👏👏👏
— Coolhand (@DavidLuke4) August 10, 2022
Aussies win Commonwealth Games gold amid Covid drama
Lanning's announcement comes in the wake of Australia's triumph at the Commonwealth Games.
The Aussies held on to beat India by nine runs at Edgbaston in Sunday's final, but it was achieved amidst great drama after star all-rounder Tahlia McGrath was allowed to play despite returning a positive test for Covid-19.
Comm Games officials and representatives from both sides were forced into furious talks pre-game which delayed the toss by 12 minutes, as questions surrounded McGrath's availability.
"We were all happy to play, she was happy to play," fast bowler Megan Schutt said after the game.
"She feels absolutely fine so I think the positive result was a bit of a shock to her, but that's Covid isn't it - we're all going to live through it."
While India maintained a diplomatic line, it is believed they were not as supportive of the decision.
"Before the toss we got to know ... that was something which was not in our control and whatever the decision the Commonwealth had, we had to follow it," skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said.
McGrath had to sit in the dressing room by herself wearing a mask as she waited to bat, and when she took a catch, teammates were warned to stay away.
And when the final wicket was confirmed by the third umpire she went from standing outside the team huddle to jumping into it and hugging her teammates.
She was also present in the post-match ceremony, receiving her gold medal with a mask on before posing for photos.
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