It is often said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Captaining the Australian women’s cricket team that has dominated the sport for decades is by no means an easy task and doing it with utmost perfection is none other than the “Megastar” herself, Meg Lanning.
Born in Singapore to father Wayne, a banker, and mother Sue, her family shortly after her birth relocated to the Sydney suburb of Thornleigh. At just ten years of age, she started playing organized cricket and while she was just in her primary school, she got the break into the New South Wales team. By the time she was 14, she became the first girl to play First XI cricket for an Associated Public Schools team. Meg grew up idolizing Ricky Ponting and Paul Kelly. Little did she know that one fine day, just like her idol Ponting, she could not only represent Australia in cricket but also captain the team.
After hitting the headlines with her prolific domestic performances, Meg made her international debut in 2010 against New Zealand in a T20I. She played her first ODI in 2011 against England and her first Test in 2013 also against the Ashes rivals. In just her second ODI, at the age of 18 years and 288 days, she became the youngest Australian across men and women to score an international century. In 2012, she broke the record of the fastest ODI century by an Australian, as she achieved the feat in 45 balls against New Zealand.
Her growth as a batter was rewarded with captainship of the team. In 2014, at just 21 years of age, Meg became the youngest ever captain of Australia mid-Ashes after an injury to Jodie Fields. She had a brilliant start to her captainship as she finished as Australia’s top run-scorer in the series. Known to have a great cricketing brain, she has already led Australia to three ICC Women’s World T20 titles and has been a part of five consecutive championships, including one 50-over World Cup in 2013 and four T20 World Cups in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020. In 2015, she was named as Wisden’s inaugural Leading Female Cricketer in the World, the same year in which she led her side to an Ashes series win. As a captain, she is known to be an out of the box thinker and her innovative ways of captainship are well-appreciated. Lanning has been a part of one of the most glorious eras in Australian sport as she led the team to a record 26-match winning streak in women’s ODIs and two consecutive World T20 titles; 2018 in West Indies and 2020 in Australia. The win in the 2020 World T20 was special since it came in front of a record crowd of 86,174, who witnessed the finale at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Over her illustrious international career, she has shattered many records. Apart from being the youngest Australian to score an international century and holding the record of fastest international century by any Australian, she has several other milestones to her name. With 14 ODI centuries, she has the highest number of centuries in women’s ODI cricket and out of the 14, she has scored six against a single team that is New Zealand, which itself is a record in itself. There is no doubt that she loves to bat against her Trans-Tasmanian rivals. In T20I cricket, she became the first Australian to go past 2,000 runs. In the same format, she holds a unique record to her name. She has not scored a duck in a T20I for 61 consecutive innings, which is the highest in women’s T20Is. This interesting statistic certainly speaks volumes about her consistency. She also has the most runs in a T20I innings by captain, thanks to her 133 against England in 2019. With regards to captainship, in 2022, during the one-off Ashes Test against England, Lanning became just the third woman cricketer to lead her side in 150 international matches across all the three formats. She joined England’s Charlotte Edwards and India’s Mithali Raj in the elite club.
In addition to playing international cricket for Australia, she plays franchise cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), which is Australia’s own T20 league. She captains Melbourne Stars and has been a prolific player in the tournament. This star batter became the first player to score atleast one half-century against all the eight participating teams.
Apart from cricket, Lanning has a strong interest in hockey. She has represented Victoria at the junior level and also played at the senior level for the Hawthorn Hockey Club. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Health Science at the Australian Catholic University.
A household name today, this “Megastar” has been a true star for Australia not only with the bat but also as the captain of the team. She is dependable, she is consistent, she is a great thinker and in a nutshell, Meg Lanning is a superstar of Australian women’s cricket.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.