Meg Lanning has been brought to tears thanking family and loved ones for their support across one of the most extraordinary careers in Australian sport. The 31-year-old announced on Thursday that she was retiring from Australian cricket, having won seven World Cups with the national side across a storied 13-year career in the green and gold.
Lanning is a three-time winner of the Belinda Clark Medal awarded to the nation's best female player and is widely considered to be one of the all-time greats of women's cricket. The legendary batter amassed 8,352 runs from 241 international matches and led Australia in 182 games, more than any other women's player.
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Lanning captained the Aussies to five World Cup crowns in both T20 and ODI cricket, with Australia enjoying a staggering winning percentage of 80% under the 31-year-old's leadership. The Aussie great's unparalleled career included 15 ODI centuries, which is more than any other player in the history of women's cricket.
The classy right-handed batter averaged 53.51 in ODIs and 36.61 in T20is, with a top score of 133 not out. Lanning made her national debut at the age of 18 and in just her second ODI she became the youngest woman in Australian history to record a century. Three years later, Lanning was named captain of the national side and led the team through a period of unprecedented success.
💫 Captain, leader, legend 💫
Trophies won by skipper Meg Lanning:
ODI World Cup
T20 World Cup
A bonafide winner 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/oydm21cmNb
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 8, 2023
Congrats Meg - amazing international career. She has been part of an era that has seen incredible growth in the women’s game that has not only benefitted cricket, but Australian sport more broadly @ACA_Players @CricketAus @AusWomenCricket 🏏🇦🇺
— Todd Greenberg (@Todd_Greenberg) November 8, 2023
Without doubt one of the greatest sporting leaders.
What an immense contribution 🙌 https://t.co/1ceRUfhc3s
— Carly Adno (@CarlyAdno226) November 8, 2023
Meg Lanning 'thankful' for amazing international career
Speaking about her decision to call time on her international career, Lanning admitted it was "scary" to be giving up something that had consumed her life for the last 13 years. Having taken two breaks from the sport within the last year though, Lanning says she knew the time was right to hang up the gloves.
"I wanted to say how lucky and privileged I've been to be able to represent Australia and play the game that I love for so long," Lanning said. "I grew up wanting to represent Australia... to be able to do it for 13 years has been an incredible opportunity for me, and I'm very thankful.
"I'm sad that it's finishing up, but I'm very much ready for something new and it's time to move on. "I can't be half in or half out with anything, and I guess that's where I've landed... I no longer have the spark or motivation to do what needs to happen at this level.
"The last few days happened pretty quick... but it's probably something I'd been thinking about for a while. I tried to make it work. I'm excited for something new and something different. "
The 31-year-old took a break from the sport after Australia's Commonwealth Games gold medal and ODI World Cup victory in 2022, before returning to lead the Aussies to their sixth Women's T20 World Cup trophy earlier this year. Lanning said she would look back on her career with the fondest memories.
Emotional Meg Lanning thanks family for their support
However, Lanning was brought to tears when discussing the influence and support she'd received from family members throughout the course of her remarkable career with Australia. "There's a few people that I'd like to thank," Lanning said before choking back tears. "Firstly, mum and dad who are here, and my family. You go out there as a cricketer, I guess, and you see the playing part...
"But they ride the emotions with you and they've always been there to support me no matter what and I'm very thankful for that. So thank you," she finished wiping away tears. Lanning also paid tribute to long-time Australia coach Matthew Mott - now England men's coach - and his successor Shelley Nitschke.
"We had a very successful five years, but we had some lows as well," Lanning said. "I think sometimes that's easy to forget that it wasn't all plain sailing. We had to work really hard to get to where we were and I think that Motty in particular and Shell have had a really big impact on me."
Lanning will still play domestic cricket for Victoria and the Melbourne Stars and refused to rule out featuring in global T20 leagues. She says the crowning moment of her career was undoubtedly winning the ODI World Cup with Australia in front of 86,174 fans at the MCG.
“I’ve achieved so much within the game and I’ve been lucky enough to have such a successful career... I feel like I’ve got nothing left to achieve on the international stage,” she added. "I don't really know what the future holds, but I'm open to trying new things and see where it all lands. (I'll) enjoy the bit of freedom I have now. Excitement, scary too. There is so much structure in cricket. "
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