Meg Lanning, Australia’s skipper is back and is renewed with fresh energy and vigour to lead the team for the series versus Pakistan and other major assignments. After the Commonwealth Games victory in Australia, she decided to take an indefinite break from the game that and her long absence from the game also sparked speculations of her retirement.
While away from the game, she was working in a local cafe while also taking a much-deserved vacation in her six-month break from cricket. She has squashed all the rumours of retirement and is now back and raring to lead Australia on 16th January in the first ODI versus Pakistan. The indefinite break is her first non-injury-related break in almost 12 years of her international career.
An overseas trip, followed by a stint delivering coffees!
A break from cricket gave Meg Lanning just the dose of normality she needed 🙌 pic.twitter.com/6EIEGsCgoB
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 15, 2023
Talking to Laura Jolly of Cricket Australia at the launch of the series on Sunday, Lanning said, “Initially, I wasn’t too sure how it was going to pan out. It was said to me that it was a good idea to take a break … and I just wanted to switch off from cricket, get away and give myself a bit of time to think and work out where I wanted to be. There were no real timelines on anything right from the start. I came to the conclusion over a little bit of time (that she would return) … but there was one moment a few months back where I was like, ‘Oh, no, that’s definitely something I want to keep doing”.
Adding on, she said that there is still the hunger to achieve more and that is when she started working hard on her fitness and what it would be like for her to come back. She also reflected on how taking a break was something that she certainly needed and it freshened her up.
Her love for the game was intact but the time away really put things in perspective and not doing things monotonously or in structure has helped her massively. She just wanted the space like a ‘normal person’ and in her time off she chatted with customers at the cafe, washed dishes, traveled, and spent quality time with her friends and family which ensured her time away was spent well.
“I feel really refreshed and ready to go”
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 15, 2023
She also said that it was a completely different experience and opined, “I’ve been playing at the international level for 12 years and just doing the same thing over that period of time, so it was nice to have a bit of a change-up. I didn’t have any plans when I went on the break, it was just seeing how I felt and doing whatever I felt like doing at the time, and I think that’s done me the world of good. (Working in a café) gave me a bit of a different perspective on things, going in not really knowing what the day was going to look like. It could be busy, it could be quiet, and just having different conversations with the customers and things like that, I actually found that really, really cool. Having that little bit of freedom and less structure around what I was doing and going with the flow a little bit more and not getting too worried about things, I really enjoyed that.”
Lanning also shared how taking a break was something that never crossed her mind and to be able to pour her feelings and ask for help from her near and dear ones has been quite the experience for her. Talking about the same, she said, “I had a lot of support along the way from a lot of different people and that certainly made it a lot easier. There’s certainly no shame in putting your hand up and saying you just need a little bit of a break, and you might need some help with that. That’s something I haven’t done a lot of throughout my career and then life in general, I’ve always been pretty guarded in what I’ve done, so that was a different experience for me and a new experience. But I’ve learned a lot from it and, moving forward, hopefully, it’s something I can continue to do.”
Her return has not just sent the fans into a tizzy but her teammates also expressed happiness as her video message was well received by the team and her return will certainly bolster Australia. Lanning also believes this break will extend her career and was much needed because she still has a lot to offer. She is not sure what the future holds but playing for as long as she can is what she aspires to do.
Catch her live in the ODI series versus Pakistan!
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.