When a participant like Meg Lanning must ask for a break it ought to ring alarm bells | Australia girls’s cricket workforce

Meg Lanning jumps on Jess Jonassen and Alyssa Healy after Australia won Commonwealth Games gold.

Meg Lanning isn’t one to offer a lot away. An intensely non-public particular person, she is thought for predictable solutions in interviews and her dislike of workforce conferences. She is a lady of few phrases and for years has appeared one thing of a cricket machine.

Other than a short stint on the sidelines for shoulder surgical procedure after the 2017 World Cup, Lanning has been an ever-present determine within the recreation since her debut in late 2010 at simply 18 years of age. All through her time within the workforce, the profile of girls’s cricket has risen exponentially, exposing Lanning to better ranges of media and public consideration – one thing that has by no means appeared to fairly sit comfortably with a participant who would fairly let her actions on the cricket area do the speaking.

It was maybe shocking then, that she was requested to tackle extra duty and visibility in January 2014 when, after the retirement of Jodie Fields, Lanning was thrust into the captaincy at age 21, having had by no means held a management place at any degree earlier than. The advertising and marketing contract that Lanning – with Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Holly Ferling – obtained to primarily be the faces of girls’s cricket in Australia led to much more time within the public eye and extra stress to be one of many ‘golden women’ of Australian sport.

This stress solely elevated within the wake of the sandpaper scandal involving the Australian males’s workforce in 2018, when the very tradition of cricket was referred to as into query and Cricket Australia turned hurriedly to its glowing girls’s workforce – who had by no means been caught up in any scandals – in a bid to distract from the poor behaviour of the lads.

The cumulation of all this – the public-facing roles, the elevated visibility of the game and the stress to keep up not solely the efficiency of the workforce, however its squeaky-clean picture – has maybe led so far. Lanning is taking an indefinite break from cricket. In a written assertion, she put it as briefly and succinctly as anybody would anticipate.

“After a busy couple of years, I’ve made the choice to take a step again to allow me to spend time specializing in myself,” she mentioned. “I’m grateful for the assist of CA and my teammates and ask that my privateness is revered throughout this time.”

We could by no means know precisely why Lanning is taking this break. Nor ought to we anticipate to. However in distinction to a lot of her counterparts from a spread of various sports activities who’ve taken breaks, it doesn’t appear seemingly that Lanning will do a tell-all interview opening up about her struggles, and even simply clarifying that she actually needs to spend summer season on the seaside as an alternative of on a cricket area for as soon as in her life.

Meg Lanning jumps on Jess Jonassen and Alyssa Healy after Australia won Commonwealth Games gold.
Meg Lanning jumps on Jess Jonassen and Alyssa Healy after Australia received Commonwealth Video games gold. {Photograph}: Dave Hunt/EPA

Nevertheless, the rationale for Lanning’s break is just not essentially essential. What’s, are the teachings that may be learnt from a participant on the prime of her recreation needing to take break day. For somebody so ingrained in cricket, who seems to like being out within the centre of the sector together with her bat in hand, to wish to step again and take time away for any motive is one thing price reflecting on.

The professionalism of girls’s cricket – and ladies’s sport extra broadly – has come alongside pretty shortly and whereas it hasn’t but reached the degrees of males’s sport, it’s in stark distinction to what a younger Lanning would have skilled in her early days within the workforce. With better salaries have naturally come better expectations – extra touring, extra public appearances, extra time in entrance of the media.

For a person coming by the excessive efficiency pathways, that is understood and anticipated. They’re ready for the pressures of public life and know precisely what they’re moving into. For the younger girls who entered the world within the beginner period and have grown into professionalism, it’s extra akin to the proverbial frog within the pot of water. The water began off chilly, however over time slowly elevated to boiling with out anybody being conscious of what a distinction that will make.

Elevated professionalism for ladies’s sport is unequivocally a very good factor. However a participant of Lanning’s stature needing to ask for a break ought to ship alarm bells round skilled girls’s sport. It ought to make organisations take a look at their schedules and query – are we leaving sufficient breaks that our gamers don’t must publicly stand all the way down to get some relaxation?

Hopefully Lanning will return in time, refreshed and able to as soon as once more destroy opposition bowling assaults together with her cowl drive. However possibly this time she – and the opposite hardworking girls she captains – can have extra relaxation and restoration constructed into their schedules to remain on the prime for so long as they want.