Cricket 2023: Meg Lanning opens up on break, says it will extend career

Five months ago Meg Lanning was unsure whether she would ever pick up another cricket bat. She opens up on why she quit, and what made her come back.

Meg Lanning quit cricket five months ago unsure if she would ever play again but absence made her heart grow fonder.

Lanning, 30, will return as Australian captain against Pakistan in an ODI at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field on Monday, her first international since announcing last August she was taking an indefinite break from the game.

Lanning, who had been ground down by the pressures of a decade as national captain, said her time away from the game had convinced her of how much she still had to offer.

“I never thought I would take a break from the game,’’ said Lanning, who feels her freshen-up will extend her career.

“For me it has been great. I really needed it. It’s listening to what your thoughts and feelings are and going with what you think is best. It confirmed to me I do love playing the game.’’

During her brief sabbatical Lanning travelled to San Francicso and worked in a coffee shop to disconnect herself from the well-grooved routines of professional cricket.

Speaking for the first time in her comeback, Lanning said delivering coffees and doing dishes was “different but something I really enjoyed.’’

“It just gave me a new perspective on things. Going in not really knowing what the day would look like. It could be busy. It could be quiet. Just having different conversations with customers. Just going with the flow a bit more and not getting too worried about things.

“I have been at international level for 10 to 12 years and doing the same things and it was nice to have a bit of a change-up. There was one moment a few months back when I thought it (cricket) is something I definitely want to keep doing. There is still a fair bit I want to achieve. The break was something I needed and has certainly freshened me up a lot.

“Initially I was not too sure how it was going to pan out. I just wanted to switch off from cricket, get away and work out where I wanted to be and get to. It became clear I still loved cricket and playing the game.

“I just needed a bit of time to maybe feel normal, a bit less structure around what I was doing. Having done that now I feel ready to go.’’

Lanning feels the break will lead to her playing for longer.

“I feel like I’ve still got a lot left to give the game both from an individual and team point of view. I’m not sure what the future holds but I would certainly like to keep playing as long as I can.’’

Lanning said she supported the decision by Cricket Australia to abandon a proposed 50 overs men’s series between Australia and Afghanistan in March due to women’s rights issues.

“Cricket wants to be as inclusive as we possibly can and want everybody to feel comfortable within it. We are supportive of Australian cricket’s stance on that.’’

Originally published as Cricket 2023: Meg Lanning says break from the game will extend her career

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