AUS-W vs SA-W 2024: Meg Lanning, Rachel Haynes to be honoured with celebratory lap ahead of first ODI

Rachel Haynes and Meg Lanning are two of the most iconic and inspirational women's cricketers to have ever played the sport.

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Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry
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Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry (Photo Source: Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Australia and South Africa are set to face each other in a three-match women's ODI series. The first game takes place at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday, February 3.

Australian legends Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes will be honoured with a celebratory lap of the historic ground before the game. The latter donned different hats after calling time on her playing career in 2022. She has been working as a television commentator and also joined as the Head of Sydney Sixers' BBL and WBBL outfits. Meanwhile, Lanning retired from all forms of international cricket last year but continues to represent Victoria in the WNCL, Melbourne Stars in the WBBL, and the Delhi Capitals in the WPL.

Lanning, who had been part of seven World Cup-winning sides and is also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said that she wants to win the WNCL with Victoria. The right-handed batter stated that she hasn't put out a timeline on her retirement from all forms of cricket and will keep going as long as she feels she has something to offer to the Victoria side.

"I've never won a WNCL title with Victoria, which is something I'd love to do at some stage," Lanning told cricket.com.au, after helping Victoria go up to the third place on the WNCL points table with consecutive wins over South Australia Scorpions in Adelaide this week.

"I haven't thought too far ahead, past this season. But I love playing for Victoria and always have, so if I can be useful to the group on and off the field then maybe I'll keep going," she added.

Speaking about the public send-off she will be getting, Lanning said that it is quite surreal to get the opportunity to thanks the fans and her former teammates while still being an active player in the domestic circuit.

Lanning has been turning up the heat in the WNCL as she has the highest average (106) in the ongoing edition, having amassed 424 runs, and looking good for many more.

Meg Lanning on life after international retirement

The 31-year-old said that she didn't have the energy to take on the pressure to perform at the international level and adhere to the commitment level that is required to represent a world-class team like Australia. Instead, she is enjoying her time guiding the younger players in the Victorian setup and wielding the willow when her time arrives.

"I've enjoyed just rocking up to play and not thinking too much about it. For as long as I can remember, every game I played had a lot of pressure and expectation, even when you'd go back to state cricket as an Australian player you feel the pressure to perform and make sure you're using that time. I loved every moment of it, but I put everything into my career and got to the point where I didn't have too much energy to give, and the commitment levels required to play within that Australian team are significant," Lanning stated.

"I guess I didn't really have that any more, so stepping away and having a bit more time to focus on other things has been nice. Now I can be a little bit more relaxed and focus on other players as well, and try and help them as much as I can which is what I've really enjoyed with the Victorian team. We've got quite a few young girls in there and it's been nice to think about it from their perspective a little bit, and also talk about some of the experiences I've had. Then I can just go out there and bat when my turn comes," she added.

Lanning gave credit to Haynes, who was her vice-captain at one point in the national team, for her captaincy accomplishments.

"She was a very integral part of our team for a long time and certainly helped me a lot. I wouldn't have been the leader, or as successful as I was, without her there with me, filling the gaps that I missed. She's a special part of my career on and off the field, so to be able to celebrate with her on the weekend is something I'm really looking forward to," Lanning said about Haynes.

The Singapore-born said that after retirement, she would like to take her time off from cricket and explore other sports. However, she did mention that she would return to cricket at some point in time.

"I think I'll always have a touch point with cricket. It's been such a big part of my life and I do love the game, so I think there will be an element of it in whatever I do. But I would certainly like to escape the cricket bubble for a little bit, and get out and see some different sports," Lanning said.

"To see how they operate and get some experience there, I think that would be exciting though what exactly that will be, I'm not sure. I don't have any specific plans, I'm just going with the flow a little bit and try out a few different things. I think I'll end up coming back to cricket in some capacity, but I'd like to get out of it for a little bit and experience life beyond the cricket bubble because it's all-consuming and I've done that for a long period of time. So something different would be nice," Lanning ended.

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