A Q and A with Meg
You became captain of Australia at a really young age, do you think that that's shaped you as a person?
I think it probably has. To be honest, when I came through the pathway and playing when I was younger, I never thought about leadership or wanted to be captain. I was just plodding along, doing my own thing, happy to be scoring runs and taking wickets – I was a bowler when I came through – and I hadn't really given it two thoughts.
So when I did get the chance to captain Australia, I hadn't really captained a team before. And I think that has shaped who I am now because that's been a part of my life now for the past five years.
I think I've learnt a hell of a lot really quickly and I learnt on the job a fair bit, which I think helped me. I'm a pretty ‘go with the flow’ sort of person, and planning is probably not really my thing. So the fact that I didn't have to think about it too much, I just came in the role and had plenty of people there to support me, that helped. Captaincy has definitely improved me as a person and a player and I'm really loving that responsibility.
You can tend to be a bit of a closed book publicly, why is that?
Generally I like to keep most information pretty close to my chest, both personally and about the team. I prefer not to divulge too much information and that's me as a person, as well as a captain. I tend to just give as little as possible and I guess I feel that it’s my information know and for others to find out, so that probably comes out in my press conferences. I think press conferences are a pretty hard environment to say everything that you want to say, just purely because of the scrutiny. So I'm honest with what I say to the media, but I probably don't come through with that much information.
Are you like that away from cricket as well?
I think I’ve learnt over the last little while to give a little bit more about myself. Generally I do keep my cards pretty close to my chest, but I'm probably a little bit more relaxed in real life than how I come across in press conferences and interviews, where I think you see the serious side of me. I do like to think of myself as pretty chilled and pretty relaxed, and I love to have a laugh.
We’ve seen that serious side on the field, as we saw during the debate over the coin toss during the World Cup in England in 2017. Is that a different side that comes out on the field?
Yeah, I'm extremely competitive in anything that I do, whether it’s cricket or away from the field. So there are those couple of instances where you have seen my real competitive streak. I guess cricket gives me a chance to exude that. I’ll do anything to defend the team that I'm playing in and also I just want to try and win as much as I can.
You’ve mentioned that your family is really important to you, can you tell us about them?
So I’ve got my mum and dad – Mum played a little bit of sport when she was growing up but for Dad, sport was a really a big part of his life and he got all five kids in our family into sports in the first place.
He played cricket and footy when he was younger and I remember sitting on the couch next to him and watching a lot of cricket and footy on the TV and that's probably where I first saw sport, and how much fun it was and how much I wanted to be a part of it. So, they were both really keen to get us into sport and be active. They’ve played a really big role and have been a really big support for me and all the kids - they’ve always been there. There’re five kids in the Lanning family – four of us love sport; my older sister not so much. My brothers played footy growing up and my younger sister Anna plays cricket as well (for the ACT and Melbourne Renegades). So there was plenty of competition growing up in the Lanning household.
And now you've got a niece and a nephew, what's it like being an aunty?
Yeah little Harley is seven months now and Harper, who’s four and a bit. I love being an aunty, it’s really cool just to see them grow up so quickly and learn so quickly and just to see how much they enjoy life and the little things.
I guess I'm lucky that I get to see them for a little bit, then they go back to their mum and dad (laughs). But I love being an aunty to those two – just the smiles on their faces is one of the special things.
Spending time with them is something I always look forward to when I've got a little bit of time at home – just going over and seeing Harper jump on the trampoline and do her tricks. She's so busy, she just loves doing stuff all the time and always wants you to help her.
And I think it just puts things into perspective. It doesn’t matter whether you've played cricket and it hasn't gone well or it has gone well, she's always in the same mood. And little Harley, he’s just the happiest baby I think I've ever seen. He pretends to cry and then we pick him up and he has a big smile on his face, so he's just tricking. Definitely one of the best parts of being home is being able to see them grow up.
Does it give you a lift when the family are able to come on the road and see you play?
Absolutely, it’s great to have that support. Little Harper was there at the World Cup last year, just doing her own thing and waving as she walked past even though it might have been a really important part of the game – but she obviously doesn’t have any idea what's happening, which is great sometimes. My family has always been very supportive and come along a lot of tours and been there so it’s something I really love.
I think it’s important that you do have that other side of life, or you can easily get caught up in cricket being the most important thing there is. There’s no doubt that it is important, but there is more to life I guess, and there are worse things that happen than losing a cricket game or not doing well. Family puts that into perspective and they're always there, whether it’s gone well or gone poorly and that's something that is really crucial, especially playing at the elite level.
What are your main interests outside of the game?
Family is obviously a big part of that, I spend a lot of time with them. Aside from that, you'll find me in a coffee shop most likely when I've got some spare time. That's sort of my getaway from everything, to go to a café and have a piccolo and smashed avo and poached eggs – that's my go to meal. It just gives me some time to chill out, I guess.
I love sport. I watch a lot of sport: cricket when it’s on, AFL is probably my second passion as a sport, I follow the Sydney Swans very closely and get very stressed when they play every week. So especially during winter, I love watching the footy on the weekend.
I have been studying throughout my career. I'm 10 years into a three-year course (laughs). I'm nearly finished, I'm on my last subject now, I’ll be done by November so that’s kept me busy along the way as well. I’m studying exercise health science. It’s a very broad when you start out and then you specialise a little bit more after that. I was hoping I’d know what I wanted to do once I finished that course... I still don't know but hopefully I can make that out.
You’ve mentioned opening a café with (former Australia leg-spinner) Kristen Beams before, is that something that’s seriously on the cards?
We go through phases, at the moment we’re talking about it. I'm reading a book at the moment on how to run your own coffee shop. So I’m trying to learn a little bit about it, because I have actually no idea. As an idea it sounds really good, but I have no idea how it would actually pan out.
We have recruited a few teammates who would be staff; we've got front of house, we’ve got a social media expert, we’ve got someone to work on the register, so we’ve got all that sorted! Each time we chat about it someone pops a head up and wants to be involved.
So it something that potentially I’d love to do. Hopefully when I'm retired there'll be a café run by me and Beamsy!
And the most important question, would there be a full blanket ban on any coriander at the cafe?
Yeah, that wouldn’t be there. Coriander wouldn’t be allowed in the café. It shouldn’t be allowed in any café or restaurant, I'm not sure why people like it.
I only ever get tagged in coriander posts on Facebook, because everyone thinks it’s really funny. Whenever I have to make any food requests or list an allergy, I always put on there that I can't have coriander. I should always say I’m allergic to it, because that would probably give me a little bit more credibility, but I just really don't like it.