Meg Lanning opens up about early retirement; recalls health battle
By SMCS - Apr 18, 2024 5:00 pm
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Former Australian women’s team captain, Meg Lanning, has revealed that depression and under-fuelling were the reasons behind her early retirement. The most successful captain in the history of women’s cricket took the cricketing world by surprise with her sudden retirement announcement in November last year.

Meg Lanning
Meg Lanning

While speaking on the Howie Games Podcast, Meg Lanning said that exercising obsessively and not having enough food deteriorated her health to a great extent. However, Lanning took a six-month break from cricket after winning the Commonwealth Games in 2022. Later, she returned to cricket and led Australia to a T20 World Cup win in February 2023 as well but chose to pull out from the Ashes 2023 for untold medical reasons.

“I was over exercising and under fuelling. I got to the point where I was doing about 85-90 km a week. I was in denial. It became a bit of ‘I am going to show you’ sort of thing,” Lanning told Mark Howard. “It sort of just spiralled. 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. I did not realise (it affected) my ability to concentrate. I didn’t really want to see other people. I disengaged a lot from friends and family. 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?’,” she further shared.

“It was a bit of my coping mechanism, I’d love just chucking the headphones in and going for a run,” she said. “I could escape mentally, I’d throw the headphones and I wouldn’t take my phone with me. I’d just have my Apple Watch on for some music, so nobody could contact me. It became an obsession, I could escape mentally, no one could contact me, and I felt like I was in control. “Initially it didn’t start off as a deliberate thing, it just became a bit of a new normal.”

Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan teaches his pose to Meg Lanning

“But it slowly crept into conscious decisions because essentially I felt good, I was light, I could run heaps and I wasn’t getting injured like everybody was telling me I was going to. World Cup, WPL last year probably was when I was getting a little bit out of control in terms of the obsessive side of what I was doing. I don’t sit still normally but it was just like no days off, can’t eat your meal until you’ve gone for a big run. That’s when it took hold a fair bit,” Meg Lanning again added.

Lanning also shared her struggles with insomnia and how lack of sleep had a major impact on her as well.

“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. No matter what was happening, I was always able to perform. (But) it had become a bit of autopilot,” Meg Lanning concluded.