"I was in denial": Meg Lanning Confronts her Health Struggle that Led to her Having to Retire Internationally


She was one of the most successful and influential captain of Australian Women team of all time

Vishal Singh April 18, 2024

Meg Lanning, a former captain of the Australian women's national team, disclosed that her early retirement was caused by despair and underfilling. When the most successful captain in Australian cricket history abruptly announced her retirement from all formats in November of last year, it caught everyone off guard.

Meg Lanning disclosed on the Howie Games Podcast that her health significantly declined as a result of her inappropriate exercise and inadequate nutrition.

Following his victory at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Lanning took a six-month hiatus (small break) from cricket. She decided to work in a coffee shop because she wanted to spend some time away from the chaos of life. In February 2023, she returned to cricket and guided Australia to victory in the T20 World Cup. She abruptly decided, for unknown medical reasons, to withdraw from the Ashes 2023.

"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 spiraled. 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.

She was losing a lot of weight because she was eating only two meals a day and running 90 km a week. She did not, however, acknowledge that she needed assistance.

Struggles that Meg faced

"I got down to about 57kgs from 64kgs. The ratios were out of whack a lot. I did not realize (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?'."

"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.

"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."

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

"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.''

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