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Meg Lanning Revealed the Reason Behind her International Retirement At the Age of 31

Former Australian Women Cricketer Meg Lanning for the first time revealed the reason behind her decision to quit the international cricketing career at the age of 31 years.

Meg Lanning has revealed that she struggled with “an unhealthy relationship” with exercise and food which indirectly led her to take this decision.

Meg made her debut in 2010 at the age of 18 years and has played 132 T20Is and 103 ODIs and also represented Australia in six Test matches.

As per the report in CA, 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 often only eating two “not significant” meals a day despite running up to 90km a week.

Lanning did not label her relatively insignificant food intake as an eating disorder – but admitted she was in denial about needing help.

“It sort of just spiralled and I was in denial, even though everyone kept telling me something wasn’t quite right,” 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. I got down to about 57kgs from 64kgs. The ratios were out of whack a lot. I did not realise (it affected) my ability to concentrate.

“I didn’t really want to see other people … I disengaged a lot from friends and family. 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?’.”

Meg Lanning said it had crept up on her, with the problem coming to the fore while she was captaining Australia to a 6th title at the T20 World Cup in South Africa and at the Women’s Premier League in Mumbai that followed immediately after.

“It was a bit of my coping mechanism, I’d love just chucking the headphones in and going for a run,” she said.

“I could escape mentally, I’d throw the headphones and I wouldn’t take my phone with me … I’d just have my Apple watch on for some music, so nobody could contact me.

“It became an obsession, I could escape mentally, no one could contact me, and I felt like I was in control.

“Initially it didn’t start off as a deliberate thing, it just became a bit of a new normal.

“But it slowly crept into conscious decisions because essentially I felt good, I was light, I could run heaps and I wasn’t getting injured like everybody was telling me I was going to.

“World Cup, WPL last year probably was when I was getting a little bit out of control in terms of the obsessive side of what I was doing.

“I don’t sit still normally but it was just like no days off, can’t eat your meal until you’ve gone for a big run. That’s when it took hold a fair bit.”

Meg Lanning, who first led Australia in 2014, has been one of the most successful captains in women’s cricket. Her record as captain includes 69 wins out of 78 ODIs, 76 wins in 100 T20Is and a Test victory as well in the four Tests that she captained Australia.

A winner of two ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup trophies and five ICC Women’s T20 World Cup titles, Lanning retires at the age of 31 having amassed more than 8000 runs across all formats for her country.

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.”

Privately dealing with health challenges, Lanning was still able to perform on the field, but could no longer commit to being captain of Australia 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.”

Lanning has continued to play in domestic competitions, including the Women’s Big Bash League and the Women’s National Cricket League but decided to step down from representing Australia again.

Lanning also captained Delhi Capitals at the inaugural Women’s Premier League earlier this year, finishing as runners-up.

“It’s still not back to normal ratios I would say, (I have) lots of conversations that I have with myself around what I should do and what is the right thing to do for my health but it’s hard for my brain,” Lanning said.

“I have that battle and sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t. I feel like I’m in a good spot now.

“Cricket is still part of what I do, but I just wasn’t cut out for the international touring schedule and what came with all of that.”

Notably, Meg Lanning was drafted by London Spirit for this year’s edition of The Hundred and still holds a contract with the Stars for the upcoming WBBL.

She said she was enjoying the freedom of life away from international touring – most of all, being able to spend more time with friends and family.

The next step will be working out what her passions are outside of cricket.

“That’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” she said. “What do I want to do? I could go into coaching or commentary, but is that what I really want to do?

“I love sport, so sport will be involved in the next step … I’m lucky I don’t have to rush into anything specific. I love coffee … I do have this one vision of maybe one day owning my own coffee shop.”

In 2014, at the age of 21, Meg Lanning became Australia’s youngest captain and led the side to a record five T20 World Cup wins. 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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