Meg Lanning in positive development after WBBL move sparked fears for cricket career

The former Australia captain took a break at the end of the WBBL season for personal reasons.

Meg Lanning, pictured here in the WBBL with the Melbourne Stars.
Meg Lanning missed the final three games of the WBBL season due to personal reasons. Image: Getty

Meg Lanning was back in the nets with the Victorian women's team on Thursday, going some way to allaying fears she's played her last game of professional cricket. The former Australia captain made the tearful announcement in November that she was retiring from international cricket, but still planned to play domestically and in franchise T20 leagues.

However she threw a spanner in the works during the WBBL season later that month when she stepped away from her duties with the Melbourne Stars and missed the remainder of the campaign. Lanning has taken a number of breaks from the game due to personal reasons in recent years, and her latest decision to step away had fans fearing she'd played her last game.

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But many noticed that Lanning made a return to cricket on Thursday, enjoying a hit-out in the nets with the Victorian state squad. Lanning featured in one photo posted on social media by the Victorian Cricket Team, as did injury-plagued fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck.

It comes as a positive sign for the 31-year-old Lanning amid a tumultuous time. She was a notable absentee during the Stars' 15-run win over the Brisbane Heat in the third-last game of the WBBL regular season, and didn't play again in the tournament.

"She's taking a few days out for some personal reasons," Stars coach Jonathan Batty told the Seven Network. "We're reassured she's all OK, which is the most important thing, but we're giving her that time and space and respecting her privacy in what she needs to do. We're taking it on a game-by-game basis at the moment and we'll give her all the time she needs to make that decision but she's definitely out for the next couple of games."

Meg Lanning's tearful retirement call alongside family

Lanning said she'd lost the hunger to perform at the international level when she announced her retirement from the top level in November. "The decision to step away from international cricket was a difficult one to make, but I feel now is the right time for me," she said. "I've been incredibly fortunate to enjoy a 13-year international career, but I know now is the right time for me to move on to something new.

"Team success is why you play the game, I'm proud of what I have been able to achieve and will cherish the moments shared with teammates along the way. I’d like to thank my family, my teammates, Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for their support to allow me to play the game I love at the highest level. I also want to say a huge thank you to all the fans who have supported me throughout my international career.”

Meg Lanning, pictured here announcing her retirement from international cricket in emotional scenes alongside her family.
Meg Lanning announced her retirement from international cricket in emotional scenes alongside her family. Image: Getty

The 31-year-old, who captained Australia to five World Cup triumphs, broke down in tears as she paid tribute to her family. Lanning is a three-time winner of the Belinda Clark Medal and widely considered one of the all-time greats of women's cricket. She amassed 8352 runs at international level in 241 matches - and captained Australia 182 times - more than any other player from her country.

She made a staggering 15 centuries at ODI level - more than any other player in the history of women's cricket. She averaged 53.51 in ODIs and 36.61 in T20Is, with a top score of 133 not out. She became the youngest Australian woman to make an ODI century at age 18, and was elevated to the captaincy when she was just 21.

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