Meg and Anna Lanning the Sister Act of Women’s Cricket

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Australian cricket history is littered with sibling stars: Ian, Greg and Trevor Chappell, Mark and Steve Waugh and Mitchell and Shaun Marsh. But with a prominent surname comes a tonne of pressure and in women’s cricket it’s the Lanning sisters who know all about that.

Meg Lanning is the Australian (Southern Stars) Captain, a cricket commentator, ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year and World Cup winning player. Her younger sister, Anna, was born on the same day two years later and has been making a huge impact in Victorian cricket and in the newly launched rebel Women’s Big Bash where she plays with Meg in the Melbourne Stars.

“It (having the Lanning surname) doesn’t consume me but it is a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” Anna tells Sportette.

“I don’t think anyone will ever be as good as Meg so it’s difficult to compare myself to her because we’re totally different players, completely different people.”

“It’s a little bit hard but it’s something I have to deal with and hopefully I can make a name for myself.”

Meg and Anna are actually two of five siblings and were the only ones to take up cricket. Their two brothers and sister didn’t share the same passion and took up other sports instead.

“We’re quite different kinds of people she (Anna) likes to be out there and wild compared to me. I’m not wild at all!”

“When we were younger Anna and I used to play together in the backyard that’s where we started off,” Meg tells Sportette.

“We’re quite different kinds of people she (Anna) likes to be out there and wild compared to me. I’m not wild at all!”

Ding ding. So begins the first family disagreement.

“I reckon I get a bad wrap,” Anna protests.

“I don’t even know why. I think we’re both very strong in what we believe in and I probably say things I shouldn’t whereas Meg is more composed.”

“I think I get a bit of a hard time to be honest. I think people portray me as a bit of a wild child. But look I guess Meg’s got a massive responsibility on her shoulders and she’s very serious and dedicated and hard-working.”

“I do sort of like to enjoy myself and yes we do have different personalities,” Anna says laughing.

It’s the fact they’re polar opposites that make these girls so fascinating. But there’s one place Anna doesn’t want to face up to her sister and that’s the cricket pitch.

Meg and Anna Lanning when they were younger

Meg and Anna Lanning when they were little girls

“For me playing with her is a lot better than playing against her because she’s the best player in the world and I’d rather be playing with her than against her, “ Anna tells Sportette.

“But we’re not overly close, we’re still quite good friends, so to learn off someone like that is crucial for my game and my development.”

It was actually at Meg’s club cricket match when the girls were in primary school where Anna was given her first chance at the game when Meg’s team was short of players.

“And that’s where it took off, I was two years younger than Meg and so a fair bit younger than all the girls.”

With no women’s team at the school, Anna played in the boys team for both cricket and AFL, but footy would soon prove too much.

Meg Lanning captaining the Australian Cricket Team, The Southern Stars

Meg Lanning captaining the Australian Cricket Team, The Southern Stars

“Yeah I used to dominate because the boys hadn’t hit puberty yet, but after year nine they were getting too big for me so I had to give it up.”

And it’s the WBBL where Meg expects her sister to stamp her authority on the game.

“It’s the next big step in the women’s game. There’s going to be so many more opportunities to young players coming through,” Meg tells Sportette.

“I’m sure after this year it’ll improve next year and the year after as we learn what works and what doesn’t and what needs to change.”

M

Anna Lanning

Meg Lanning

Meg Lanning

And while now it’s the Stars the girls play together in, one day that could just be the Southern Stars.

“We really enjoy playing together and if we did get the opportunity to play for Australia together it’d be a really proud moment, especially for our family,” Anna says.

“I still have a bit of hard work ahead of me but hopefully one day I can play with Meg for Australia.”

 

The Stars play the Renegades Saturday 2nd January at the MCG, catch all the action live on Ten.

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