Meg Lanning retires from international cricket

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Meg Lanning has made the shocking decision to retire from international cricket with immediate effect, aged 31.

The Australia captain had not played for her country since lifting the T20 World Cup in South Africa in February. She missed Australia’s tour of the United Kingdom due to an undisclosed medical issue and did not play in the recent T20 and ODI series against the West Indies despite being fit, having returned to play WNCL cricket for Victoria.

Lanning is currently captain of the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL and looks set to continue playing domestic cricket.

“The decision to step away from international cricket was a difficult one to make, but I feel now is the right time for me,” Lanning said.

“I have been incredibly fortunate to enjoy a 13-year international career, but I know now is the right time to move on to something new.

“Team success is the reason you play, I am proud of what I have been able to achieve and will cherish the moments shared with my teammates along the way.

“I would like to thank my family, teammates, Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for their support in allowing 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.”

Lanning has taken several breaks from cricket in recent seasons due to various issues. In 2022, following Australia’s victory at the Commonwealth Games, he took a leave of absence from the game and worked as a barista at a local cafe in Melbourne. He missed Australia’s tour of India in December that year before returning in preparation for the 2023 T20 World Cup.

Lanning made his international debut at the age of 18 in 2010. He has played 241 matches for Australia, including six Tests, 103 ODIs and 132 T20Is. She will go down as one of the most successful captains in cricket history, having captained Australia to four T20 World Cup titles, one ODI World Cup title and one Commonwealth Games title. She led her country in 182 matches throughout her career and received the title when she was 21 years old in 2014.

She became the youngest Australian woman to score a century, aged 18, when she scored 104 not out against England in just her second ODI. She became arguably the greatest ODI batsman of all time. She has scored 15 ODI centuries, with New Zealand’s Suzie Bates (12) being the only other player with more than nine.

Of the 11 women with more than 4,000 ODI runs, Lanning has the highest average of 53.51, with India’s Mithali Raj being the Only one other player averages more than 50.. He also had an astonishing strike rate of 92.20.

Lanning is the second leading run scorer in women’s T20I history behind Bates. He made 3405 runs at 36.61, scoring 116.37, with two centuries.

The only thing missing from his brilliant personal CV was a Test century. He played just six Tests in a 13-year career and made just two half-centuries with a highest score of 93 against England in 2022.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley paid tribute to Lanning following his announcement.

“One of the greatest cricketers Australia has produced, Meg’s supreme achievements with the bat have been matched by her inspiring leadership,” Hockley said.

“As one of the best players in the world for a long period of time, Meg has had an immeasurable impact and has led a generation that has helped revolutionize the game.

“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 around the world.

“Seven-time World Cup winner and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Meg retires from international cricket having achieved all there is to achieve and we thank her for the immense contribution she has made.

“We look forward to celebrating Meg’s distinguished international career at the appropriate time.”

Alex Malcolm is associate editor of ESPNcricinfo