Lanning to take indefinite break from cricket

Australia's most-capped women's captain granted period of time away from the game, citing personal reasons

Australia women's captain Meg Lanning will take an indefinite period of leave from cricket, citing personal reasons.

Lanning, who has just completed another successful campaign with Australia – earlier this week winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham – steps back from the game after a particularly busy two-and-a-half year period in which her side also won both the T20I and ODI World Cups, as well as a home Ashes series.

The 30-year-old's decision to take time away from cricket, with no fixed date for her return, comes with the full support of Cricket Australia.

"We're proud of Meg for acknowledging that she needs a break and will continue to support her during this time," said Shawn Flegler, CA's head of performance, women's cricket.

"She's been an incredible contributor to Australian cricket over the last decade, achieving remarkable feats both individually and as part of the team, and has been a brilliant role model for young kids.

"The welfare of our players is always our number one priority, and we'll continue to work with Meg to ensure she gets the support and space she needs."

In a written statement, Lanning said: "After a busy couple of years, I've made the decision to take a step back to enable me to spend time focusing on myself. I'm grateful for the support of CA and my teammates and ask that my privacy is respected during this time."

Lanning debuted as an 18-year-old in December 2010 and across the ensuing decade established herself as the premier batter in women's ODI cricket.

What began with a century in her second ODI – which made her the youngest Australian to register three figures in an international – quickly turned into a record-breaking number of hundreds at a rate that left the giants of the women's game in the shade.

"She peeled off a hundred against the Poms in Perth (in her second ODI), and she just did it with ease," former Australia coach Richard McInnes told earlier this year.

"I basically said, 'This kid's going to be something else'. And then what she did over the next few years reinforced that; the rate at which she scored, and the rate at which she scored big scores, we hadn't seen that. She just went to a different level."

Since first taking on the captaincy as a 21-year-old in January 2014, Lanning has led Australia 171 times – a number surpassed by only Ricky Ponting and Allan Border – and between that ongoing responsibility and the women's calendar becoming increasingly busy, the periods of respite have become both fewer and shorter.

"Getting the captaincy so young, she's had a big responsibility on her shoulders for the majority of her career now," Alyssa Healy told in March.

"Sometimes you worry that maybe they're not going to enjoy themselves, enjoy their career as much.

"But I think 'Motty' (former head coach Matthew Mott), and having some really good senior players around as well, has probably enabled her to just enjoy it, and let things happen organically; it's not that she's forcing change or anything, it's just happened over time."

The indefinite exit of Lanning and the recent resignation of Mott is indeed a blow to Australia's leadership, however interim head coach Shelley Nitschke looks to have quickly proven her quality by quietly steering the side to their Commonwealth Games success, while the likes of Rachael Haynes, Healy, Ellyse Perry, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney and Megan Schutt all boast vast international experience.

Australia's next assignment is a five match T20 tour of India in December.