Cricket Australia (CA) today congratulated Meg Lanning who was named the inaugural Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World.
This is the first time ever that Wisden has awarded this honor, alongside their Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year and the Leading Cricketer of the Year.
Lanning earned the accolade based on her standout performances during 2014, which also saw her take out the ICC WT20I Player of the Year and the Belinda Clark Award.
Last year the 23-year-old became the youngest player – male or female – to captain Australia when she took over the reins of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars at the age of 21.
She led her side to a third successive ICC Women’s World T20 title in Bangladesh and under her captaincy the team has lost only two of 28 matches.
Lanning finished the year as the number one ranked batter in both ODI and T20 cricket highlighted by a record innings of 126 runs from 65 balls against Ireland at the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh that saw her pass the 1000 T20 career runs, making her the first Australian woman to pass the milestone.
Wisden Almanack Editor Lawrence Booth said: “Meg was the natural choice for Wisden’s inaugural award. She’s a genuine star, and I’d be surprised if her name doesn’t feature regularly on our list of winners in the years ahead.”
Speaking about the accolade Lanning said: “I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award, particularly being the first female to be recognized by Wisden in this way.
“I never dreamt that my name would one day be included in the almanac but now that it has, I hope this is the beginning of a long tradition of female cricketers to receive such an honor.
“It’s been a big 12 months of cricket for the Australian team. I have thoroughly enjoyed the extra challenges that have come with captaincy and have been particularly buoyed by the support I’ve received from my teammates. Together we have achieved great things.
“I want to thank everyone for their support, especially my family and teammates. This is something I will look back on with great pride when I finish my career.”
Speaking about Lanning’s award CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said: “On behalf of everyone in Australian cricket I’d like to congratulate Meg on her wonderful achievement.
“In her role as captain, Meg continues to be an outstanding role model and is doing an excellent job promoting cricket as a sport of choice for talented female sportspeople across the nation.
“We are incredibly proud of Meg’s leadership as she inspires the next generation of players across the country.”
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ next fixture is the 2015 Women’s Ashes in the UK. The team departs for the tour in mid-July and will by vying to win the trophy back from England.
Follow the team and Meg via Twitter @SouthernStars and @meglanning7