Meg Lanning: Australia captain retires to end 13-year international career

Meg Lanning
Meg Lanning (centre) led Australia to victory in the Women's T20 World Cup in February

Australia captain Meg Lanning has announced her international retirement, saying she no longer has the "spark to do what needs to happen at this level".

As captain, Lanning led Australia to 50-over World Cup glory in 2022 and also won four T20 World Cups and Commonwealth Games gold.

She is the second-highest run-scorer in women's T20 internationals.

"I feel like now I've got nothing left to achieve on the international stage," Lanning, 31, said.

Lanning made her international debut in 2010 aged 18 and became the youngest Australian to make a century with her unbeaten 103 against England in a one-day international.

She was part of the Australia side who won the T20 World Cup in 2012 and the 50-over title in 2013 before being appointed captain in February 2014, aged just 21.

"I no longer have the spark or the motivation to do what needs to happen at this level and so for me it is time to move on," said Lanning.

"I can't be half-in or half-out with anything and I guess that's where I've landed with this decision.

"I've achieved so much within the game and been lucky enough to have such a successful career and be part of very successful teams."

Lanning scored 17 centuries across six Tests, 103 ODIs and 132 T20Is, averaging 53.21 in one-day games.

She led Australia in 182 of her 241 appearances, scoring a combined total of 8,352 runs across all three formats, including 17 centuries.

She missed this year's Ashes tour of England for medical reasons.

Her absence from the tour of England followed a break from cricket for her mental health in 2022, before she returned in February 2023 to lead her side to victory at the T20 World Cup.

"It's been my life essentially for 13 years, and I know nothing other than that," said Lanning.

"I've learned so much and had so many incredible opportunities to do that, and I'm sad that it's finishing up but I'm very much ready for something new.

"It's time to move on and go on and experience other things other than playing cricket, which I'm really excited about."

Lanning will continue to play in domestic competitions, including the ongoing Women's Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars, and for Victoria in the Women's National Cricket League.

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said Lanning is "an absolute superstar" who has had an "amazing career" and been "inspirational to so many, not just little girls".

"I've had the privilege of knowing her since she was about 16-17 and I played against her when she was playing school cricket," Maxwell told No Balls: The Cricket Podcast.

"I remember bowling at her and she smashed me everywhere.

"Her ability to adapt through the years, through the formats - she became a massive force in T20 cricket, which initially she probably didn't feel she would be.

"Australia are going to miss her. All of us, players and fans, wish her luck in her next adventure."

Former Australia one-day captain Aaron Finch said Lanning had made "exceptional" contributions to Australian cricket and shown "outstanding" leadership.

He added: "Your legacy will continue to inspire generations of players to come. Enjoy the next innings of life."

'As close to irreplaceable as it gets' - analysis

BBC Sport cricket writer Ffion Wynne

Australia have been used to playing without Lanning over the past couple of years because of the breaks she has taken from the game, but her retirement marks a seismic shift for one of the world's greatest sports teams.

They have won everything - most of it under Lanning's captaincy - but now we are seeing a changing of the guard as she joins long-time vice-captain Rachael Haynes and multiple World Cup-winning coach Matthew Mott in moving on.

Australia will obviously miss her runs, but during last summer's Ashes, it was her captaincy that left a huge void.

A side usually renowned for their ruthless quest for winning and striving for perfection, they were uncharacteristically sloppy under pressure at times and seemed to miss her calm but firm presence in those big moments.

They are still the most formidable opponent, with the likes of Annabel Sutherland and Phoebe Litchfield showing that young talent is coming through, while experienced all-rounder Ellyse Perry is still a star.

But Lanning was the talismanic figure who embodied Australia throughout their dominance over the past decade and is as close to irreplaceable as it gets.