Meg Lanning: 5 things to know about Australia women's team's captain

Meg Lanning is among the best players in women's cricket today
Meg Lanning is among the best players in women's cricket today

'Megastar' of the Australian women's team, Meg Lanning scored 97 off 107 balls in the Women's World Cup 2022 match against India on March 19 in Auckland.The Australian team won that game by six wickets and qualified for the semi-finals.

In the match against South Africa on March 22, Meg Lanning once again gave an outstanding performance as she scored a century -135 off 130 balls.

The Australian team has won all six matches they have played so far in the Women's World Cup and are looking as the overwhelming favourites to win the trophy.

Meg Lanning is leading from the front and would have to continue playing a key role for her team. This is a good opportunity to look at the career of this modern-day great of Australian cricket.

So, here are five things you should know about Meg Lanning.

#1 Left Successful Hockey career for cricket

Meg had a childhood dream of being at the Olympics as part of the Australian Hockey team. She started her hockey training at the early age of seven and soon, represented Victoria at the junior level. Later on, she went ahead to play in the women's Premier League at the Hawthorn Hockey Club in Melbourne.

Hockey legend Jay Stacy, when asked about Meg, said:

"As a striker, she possesses excellent goal sense and reads the game one or two passes ahead to put herself in optimal goal-scoring positions."

The Aussie skipper consistently worked hard to pursue cricket and hockey both in her early life. However, she chose cricket as her career after being selected to play in 2011 for Australian cricket team.

#2 Played with boys' team for five years

Meg Lanning had difficulty finding a team suitable for her to play cricket with. There was no girls' team for her age group, and playing with the senior women's club at the age of seven was not possible.

So, she joined the boys' team at Carey Grammar co-educational school. She soon started making headlines as the first girl to play First XI cricket for an Associated Public Schools team.

When asked about the entire experience, she told ABC:

"I started doing it from year seven so, once you start doing it a few times, [it showed] I could compete with them as well, which probably helped. I played all the way through until the end of year 12. So, once I got to the back end it was just sort of normal, I guess. It was a really good pathway for me to go through."

#3 Breaking records as Youngest Australia captain

Meg Lanning was 21 years old when she was appointed as the captain
Meg Lanning was 21 years old when she was appointed as the captain

In 2011, Meg Lanning made her ODI debut and scored an unbeaten 103 in a game against England. She became the youngest-ever centurion in Australia at the age of 18 years and 288 days.

Later in 2012, she broke another record - the fastest century by an Australian. Lanning reached three-figures in just 45 balls against New Zealand.

Continuing her record-breaking achievements, Meg Lanning was 21 years old when she became the youngest-ever captain of the Australian team. This achievement came her way on January 19, 2014, when she led Australia in an ODI due to the absence of their full-time skipper Jodie Fields.

Subsequently, she was appointed the full-time captain of the T20 team after Fields' retirement. Lanning scored 257 runs in six innings at the 2014 Women's World T20 to be the top run-scorer in the series. She set a new record for the highest individual score, by scoring 126 off 65 balls, during a group stage match against Ireland in the same tournament.

In the Final, Australia reached the target set by England in just 15.1 overs. Meg Lanning scored 44 runs from 33 balls in the match. Australia's third victory in the World Twenty20 was under her captaincy.

#4 Shoulder injury in 2017

Meg Lanning had a shoulder reconsturction surgery in 2017
Meg Lanning had a shoulder reconsturction surgery in 2017

The Aussie captain suffered from severe shoulder pain in 2017. She had already attained the record for the most centuries in Women's ODIs. However, Lanning went ahead to play in the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup. She still managed to juggle score 152 in 135 balls against Sri Lanka.

But the skipper was excluded for the next two matches, against South Africa and Pakistan. Australia suffered a 36-run loss in the semi-finals against India. Following the end of their World Cup campaign, the Aussie captain went ahead with the shoulder reconstruction surgery, which kept her off the field for seven months.

#5 Her comeback

After being sidelined for almost a year, the 26-year-old made a comeback in 2018 to international cricket. Australia won the World T20 event in the West Indies with Meg Lanning again in the side. In fact, she hit the winning runs against England in the Final.

In the 2019 Womens’ Ashes, Lanning broke her own record of the highest individual score in a WT20I with an innings of 133 off 63 balls. She was nominated for the ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade, ICC Women's ODI Cricketer of the Decade, and ICC Women's T20I Cricketer of the Decade awards.

Under her captaincy, the Australian ODI team went on a winning spree and recorded their 22nd ODI win in a row in April 2021, thereby creating a new record.

A masterclass from the Megastar (135*) powers the Aussies to a sixth straight #CWC22 victory! This team 🤩Scorecard:

The way things are going, it would be hard for any side to stop her Australian team from becoming World Champions at the ongoing Women's World Cup. Truly, Meg Lanning is among the greatest cricketers the world has seen in recent times.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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