Home » Australia Great Blames Undereating Behind Sudden Weight Loss, Early Retirement | Cricket News

Australia Great Blames Undereating Behind Sudden Weight Loss, Early Retirement | Cricket News

In a stunning disclosure, Australia’s six-time World Cup-winning former women’s cricket team captain Meg Lanning has said that her early retirement at 31 was forced by bouts of depression and weight-loss due to “over-exercising and under-fuelling”. Lanning took a six-month mental health break after winning the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham to work in a coffee shop. She eventually retired after skipping three international assignments, including the Ashes, in 2023 but did not disclose her reasons at that time.

“It sort of just spiralled and I was in denial, even though everyone kept telling me something wasn’t quite right. 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,” Lanning told ‘The Howie Games’ podcast.

The most successful skipper in the history of Australian cricket, Lanning’s last big success was leading the team to victory in the T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2023.

The 32-year-old said it reached a point where she lost appetite and began eating only two meals a day after running around 90km a week, which led to significant weight loss.

“I was over-exercising and under-fuelling. I got down to about 57kg from 64kg. 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,” Lanning said candidly.

She also battled insecurities like a lot of other elite sportspersons and all of it primarily boiled down to one question — “what after when all this is over?” “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?’.” A self-confessed introvert, Lanning became more lonely between last year’s T20 World Cup and the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League in India where she led Delhi Capitals to the finals.

“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.” She then revealed how she was completely cut-off from the rest of her teammates and also friends.

“It was a bit of my coping mechanism, I’d love just chucking the headphones in and going for a run. 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,” the stylish right-handed batter said.

Lanning did not realise when solitude became a “new normal” for her.

“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.” Lanning said at one stage was so depressed that even two hours of sound sleep became a thing of past.

“I dreaded night time because I knew I would go to bed and not be able to sleep. That would make me so mad. I would just get more angry with myself. If you can’t sleep, you can’t do anything.” The most astonishing part of this tough journey was that her on-field form never dipped.

“No matter what was happening, I was always able to perform. (But) it had become a bit of auto pilot.” Lanning scored 8352 runs from 241 international matches across three formats after making her debut in a T20I in 2010.

She said she has been better since giving up the rigours of international cricket.

“I feel like I’m in a good spot now. Cricket is still part of what I do. But I wasn’t cut out for the international touring schedule and what came with all of that,” Lanning said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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