Australian cricketers, it ought to be said, are natural to the sport. If cricket is about some thrill that binds the viewer to the edge of the seat, then Australians are the providers of that thrill.
It’s an unexpressed rule of sorts that dwells in the realm of inevitability.
It’s never a dull moment when the proceedings involve an impassioned Australian talent in the middle. Moreover, even better if the changing contour of a game is being determined by an Aussie’s sagacity.
What does it mean to compete with an Aussie?
They can outmaneuver contestants by quite simply underpinning them through their mere presence.
It’s irrepressible. It’s revolutionary. It’s uncontainable and looms beyond the cacophonous mind games their opponents resort to.
So here’ is the natural order of things. When you collide with Australia, you don’t simply run into a cricketing outfit. You task yourself to contest a challenge marked by enormity.
It more likely seems there is this invisible aura that surrounds the Australians, their presence marked by a halo of invincibility.
Meg Lanning- opening batswoman, ball hammerer, trail-blazer, courageous captain, inspirational figure, record maker- is a living salutation to the quintessential Australian spirit.
A Pop culture philosophy sums up the Aussie spirit
From the lens of popular culture, nothing seems to essay the Aussie character better than the words of Kurt Cobain. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
At 26, having chased World Cup glory, taking Australians to victory at the ICC World T20 2014, having raised the bar of competition to serene heights, having struck most ODI hundreds in the Women’s game and, having reconstructed her shoulder only so that her game doesn’t suffer and she keeps contributing to Australia, you feel Meg Lanning might simply suffer from exhaustion. Eventually, at some stage.
Or that she could be done in by the physical and mental rigours involved in devoting herself piously to the game that breathes life in her.
But she won’t allow herself to fade away; turning into a lacklustre name, seeing the passion to compete at the highest level sucking life out of her.
Meg Lanning: an eternal competitor
That won’t do. That’s not Meg Lanning. For a cricketer who confesses that watching the game from the sidelines for seven whole months, during her recuperation with a shoulder injury as being the greatest challenge she’d ever faced, it’s not hard to understand the levitation cricket serves her.
It lifts Meg’s soul. It propels her into being one with the state of eternal competition.
In Meg’s world, the perfect landscape portrait is the ball being smashed into smithereens, swatted aside by a burst of ambition.
Meg Lanning is not about records. She is about overcoming challenges that threaten the construction of records. Fastest to reach 3000 ODI runs when the likes of Mithali Raj, Ellyse Perry, Sarah Taylor have all been around.
She’s not about bathing in the glow of individual feats. She is about devoting herself to gathering feats for her team.
She’s about furthering the rich Australian legacy. She’s about upholding the spirit of competition. She’s about leading her troops into battle where playing for pride is the greatest conscientious victory.
Why Meg is ahead of the curve
Lanning with her brute pulls and rasp cuts, dashing drives and acrimonious hooking is an antidote to the prevalence of the ball. A poignant example why there’s an enormous satisfaction in seeing the bat dominate the ball and quite possibly, bright chuckle on faces that couldn’t be delighted more when the front face of the bat makes a crackling sound. Boom.
At 26, with the astonishing record of striking most ODI tons- ahead of luminaries like Stafanie Taylor and Suzie Bates- Lanning is in this scrumptious interesting second wind of her career.
It seems if she can continue for a further six or seven cricketing summers, she will mark the Australian women’s game with ornate decorations should she keep up with the burgeoning competition. Not to mention the onerous task of keeping the Australian flag fluttering above others.
Good players dominate an opposition sticking to a premeditated plan of action. Great players change the course of the contest by daring and unrepentant aggression. Meg Lanning does these both leaving her opponents clueless as to what might be her next course of action.
She stunned the world in 2014 as her fiery blade bludgeoned 126 off mere 65 balls sending Ireland in a comatose situation. She didn’t only thrash the bowlers. She toyed with them.
What the future holds
True to her competitive Aussie instincts, she dislikes losing but doesn’t stoop to anything that mars her redoubtable presence. A tight-lipped silence may just offer a subtle glare into a cerebral mind that treats victories honorably and rues every lost chance. Now in her prime and amid a famous collective of weighty names- Perry, Gardner, and Healy- one could expect Lanning to come as hard as she’s ever against teams that would like nothing better than bringing about her downfall.
This potentially ups the thrill of women’s game like few other facets ever can. For we have amidst us an adroit thinker and a domineering contestant, who’s driven to counter what lies outside. For in Meg Lanning’s world it’s the drive within that leads to the fireworks outside.