A trailblazer in her code, Meg Lanning is one of Australia’s most driven and respected cricketers.
But as the Southern Stars successfully retained the Women’s Ashes in late 2017, captain Lanning could do nothing but agonisingly watch from the sidelines.
Lanning was forced to miss the entire series due to a shoulder injury, which had been plaguing the Victorian for 18 months prior.
But remarkably it was during those 18 months that Lanning had cemented herself as the world’s best female cricketer.
Now ready to return to the field in the green and gold, Australia’s star batter is hungry and optimistic to go even further.
“It’s been a big preseason,” Lanning said. “Last summer was frustrating but I feel like I’m ready to go and I can’t wait to get out there and play.”
“I think we’ve been able to put together a good mix of experience and youth. I think that’s really important that we keep evolving as a team and improving and I think we’ve been able to that.”
Born in Singapore, raised in North Sydney and then Melbourne, Lanning was 18 years old when she became the youngest-ever cricketer, male or female to score a century for Australia, and at just 21 years of age was elevated to captaincy duties.
Holding the world record for the most centuries in women’s One Day Internationals with 11, Lanning also became the first and only Australian player, male or female, to score over 2000 runs in Twenty20 international cricket.
But according to the now seasoned 26-year-old, none of her accolades matter if she doesn’t play by the rules and adhere to the spirit of the game.
“Playing in the right spirit is really important,” Lanning said.
“It’s sometimes a bit tricky because there can be unwritten rules, but when it comes down to it, knowing that you performed fairly in your head is what’s most important. I think it is what everyone needs to strive for and it’s definitely is a lot more enjoyable when you know your team’s doing that.”
In a sport where the tradition of fair play is held in the highest of regard, Lanning also understands the seriousness of major indiscretions such as match-fixing, illegal sports betting and other corruption.
“Protecting the integrity of the game is crucial. Especially at the elite level where we are role models to others coming through. Internally we speak about it a lot because we want to make sure we’re playing the game the right way because we have that responsibility.”
The lead run-scorer in the first two seasons of the WBBL, Lanning will now join her teammates as they fight for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 title in November 2018 in the West Indies.
Australia, the only nation to win the title on multiple occasions, will be looking to capture the trophy for the fourth time, after they were outplayed in the final by the West Indies in the last edition in 2016.
An advocate of the code’s message to ‘Be Fair Play Fair’, the Fair Play Code outlines a set of guiding principles on expected standards of behaviour for every person involved in sport and recreation in Victoria.
From 1 July 2018, individuals, clubs, leagues and associations involved in sport and recreation in Victoria, should apply the Fair Play Code to behaviour both on and off the sporting field.
At the heart of the code are the five core values that will encourage fair play for all – integrity – respect – responsibility – fairness – safety.
The code sends a loud and clear message – that bad behaviour, violence, cheating and intimidation has no place in sport and recreation in our state.
For more information read Victoria's Fair Play Code