Australia captain Meg Lanning retires from international cricket

A tearful Lanning says she has ‘nothing left to achieve’ as she announces her decision to quit international cricket.

FILE - Australia's captain Meg Lanning with the trophy smiles after winning the final of Women's cricket T20 Triangular Series in Mumbai, India, Saturday, March. 31, 2018. Australia women's cricket captain Lanning has announced her international retirement after playing 241 matches — six tests, 103 one-day internationals and 132 Twenty20 matches.(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)
Australia's captain Meg Lanning has announced her retirement from international cricket after playing 241 matches [File: Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo]

Record-breaking Australian women’s captain Meg Lanning has announced her retirement from international cricket after winning seven World Cup titles during a 241-match career.

The 31-year-old top-order batter, who led Australia to four Twenty20 World Cup titles, one 50-over World Cup triumph and a Commonwealth Games gold, said she had “nothing left to achieve” as she announced her decision on Thursday.

Her exploits as a batter and captain earned her the nickname “Megastar”, while off the pitch, she played a crucial role in highlighting the gender pay gap in men’s and women’s professional cricket.

She amassed 8,352 runs in international cricket after making her debut in 2010. That total included 17 centuries and 38 half-centuries.

After 13 years of international cricket and having captained her country on 182 occasions, Lanning said it was the “right time to move on to something new”.

“I have achieved so much within the game and been lucky enough to have such a successful career and be part of very successful teams,” a tearful Lanning told reporters at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“I guess I feel like now I’ve got nothing left to achieve on the international stage.

“I can’t be half-in or half-out with anything and I guess that’s where I’ve landed with this decision.

“I no longer have the spark or the motivation to do what needs to happen at this level and so for me it is time to move on.”

An emotional Lanning broke down in tears when she thanked her father Wayne and mother Sue, who attended their daughter’s farewell news conference. Lanning was born in Singapore when her father was a banker there.

Veteran wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy has previously captained the Australian team in Lanning’s absence but was recently sidelined after injuring her finger, breaking up a dog fight.

Cricket Australia is yet to name Lanning’s long-term successor.

‘Legacy of global dominance’

Chief executive Nick Hockley praised Lanning as “one of the finest cricketers Australia has produced” and “one of the best players in the world over a long period of time”.

“Under Meg’s leadership the Australian women’s cricket team has built a legacy of global dominance and has been at the forefront of growing the game and inspiring the next generation of cricketers all around the world,” he added.

According to Cricket Australia, Lanning has hit more one-day centuries than any other woman and is the top run-scorer for the Australian women’s team.

Australia won 26 consecutive one-day games under Lanning’s captaincy between 2018 and 2021, which remains that format’s record-winning streak.

Lanning returned to the Australian team in January after a six-month break to “focus on myself”.

On her return, she led Australia to victory at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and took Delhi Capitals to the final of the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India.

Lanning will continue to play in domestic competitions, Cricket Australia said.

One of her fiercest rivals, England captain Heather Knight, led the tributes to Lanning by branding her a “tough competitor” in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor hailed the player as “an absolute legend of the game” who spent 13 years “at the top”.

Former Australian men’s batter and coach Darren Lehmann said Manning was a “fantastic ambassador for the Australian cricket and the game”.

Alexandra Hartley, a former English cricketer who now commentates on the game, said the outgoing Australian skipper had “inspired so many young girls and boys who want to ‘play the cut shot like Meg Lanning’”.

Source: News Agencies