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‘It just spiralled’: Meg Lanning opens up on struggles that led to cricket retirement
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‘It just spiralled’: Meg Lanning opens up on struggles that led to cricket retirement

Former Australia cricket captain Meg Lanning struggled with “an unhealthy relationship” with exercise and food leading up to her shock retirement. A self-described private person, Lanning has finally decided to share why she ended her international career last November at the age of 31.

The Victorian took an extended break from cricket in 2022, returned to lead Australia to a Twenty20 World Cup title in February 2023, but suddenly pulled out of last year’s Ashes for undisclosed medical reasons.

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,” 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. 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?’.”

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.

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“No matter what was happening, I was always able to perform,” she said. “[But] it had become a bit of auto pilot.”

The star batter has continued playing in the Women’s Big Bash League, the National Cricket League and the lucrative Women’s Premier League in India, but has decided against representing Australia again.

She led the nation to a record five T20 World Cup crowns after becoming the Australia’s youngest skipper in 2014, at the age of 21. A three-time Belinda Clark Medal winner, Lanning scored 8352 runs from 241 international matches after debuting in T20s in 2010.

Source: theguardian.com