There’s no particular age to succeed in T20s, they say.
Dwayne Bravo, who is nearing 35 is in full aplomb. Samuel Badree, at 37 is fitter and renders commendable performances in most outings than most other 20-somethings in the game. We have the likes of Dhoni and Nehra running on even terms with other salubrious talents to extend their cricketing life.
Similarly, Brendon McCullum is going all guns blazing. The same turf where a Virat found it tough to get going saw McCullum engage in sixes and fours in his 27-ball 43.
Why don’t we see more of Chris Lynn?
Therefore at 28, isn’t it only natural to expect Chris Lynn come a full circle given his experience with the bat and his proclivity for hard work? But does Lynn turn out as frequently than on the occasions he is made to play?
Why is it that since debuting in 2014, Chris Lynn- with a strike rate of 137 in T20s for Australia and 148 in overall T20s- has appeared in just 10 20-over contests? It’s mind-boggling to note that a talent who was named player of the tournament in Big Bash League 2016 has only appeared against England and India in Australia’s T20 series.
With a knack of adapting to different formats with visible ease, it’s a bit of an unrequited love scenario in Lynn’s books. He loves a good contest. Batting at the top of the order and striking big brings out the best in him.
So why is there a feeling that Cricket isn’t perhaps loving back Lynn the same way as the Queenslander loves the game? He’s been called a ball smasher and also a Big Bash league ‘specialist’. It’s not hard to understand why. It isn’t always that at the back of one genius inning does a T20 talent gets tagged a ‘great’ so when Lynn plundered Perth Scorchers in his 49-ball-98, the fanfare was expected.
Why has Lynn, who holds the record of hitting most sixes in a big bash league game to this day- 11- surfaced only in 3 T20 series? It’s a puzzle that most researchers could base their doctrine on.
To top it up, why has Australia played arguably its finest domestic circuit feature in the shortest format alone can give even Sherlock a run for his money.
Lynn and injuries go hand-in-hand.
Right before the start of IPL 2018, Lynn managed to dislocate his shoulder. During the 9th over in the tri-series finals versus New Zealand, Lynn fell awkwardly whilst fielding. This led to a complete ouster in the PSL in the days to follow. Thankfully, through rest and medication, Lynn geared up for the IPL, which he has decorated with fireworks in the previous edition. 295 of his 389 IPL runs came off a single season, batting for Kolkata Knight Riders.
With a strike rate of 154 thus far in the IPL and a personal best of 93* depict Lynn’s ability to convert breezy starts into impactful outcomes for his team, more than a Narine’s knock ever can. Lest it be forgotten that the latter is a pinch hitter and the former a batting mainstay in the format.
There’s no romanticism in Lynn’s theatrics with the bat.
It’s all wham-bam and savagery. But it is intrinsic to the nature of the format and true to realistic demand fans have from T20s.
Chris Lynn promises just that when he’s made to play.
A cross-batted swatter who can middle the ball to create catchy headlines in newspapers the next day and trolls for his opponents on social media in an immediate instant brackets the 28-year-old as a world class T20 find.
But considering that Gayle isn’t the most wholesome demonstrator of footwork against spin and neither is Colin Munro against New Zealand’s opponents, it cannot be decoded as to why a Lynn, nearing 3000 ODI runs cannot be considered for national duties even in ODIs. When you consider that a Tim Paine- who until 2017 was considering quitting cricket altogether, having been dropped from Tasmania- can be made a Test captain then a Chris Lynn can be filed in as an opener for Australia.
We must also not forget that often T20 successes have been launchpads for national contention. It’s happened to likes of Bumrah and Pandy in India. It reflects in Alex Hales’ ODI assignments for England. And it may define Lynn’s forthcoming future
The road ahead for Chris Lynn
Specifically, in times where Australia is desperately searching for fellow Steve Smiths and other David Warners (seemingly troubled with the vexed reality that the duo is often overburdened to score for the team)- it will take a paramount and justifiable excuse not to nurture Lynn adequately.
Truth be told, passionate fans who remain in great defiance of the Australian duo despite brazen involvement in the ball-tampering saga, would want to know why offbeat performers like Coulter-Nile and a frequently in-and-out James Faulkner are featured in ODIs when a Chris Lynn can be played too.
From the onset of June till October, Australia runs a busy touring season. They play England, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan respectively, slated to take the field for 13 ODIs and 2 T20s.
But it remains to be seen what chances are there for Lynn to ride the bus for national duties?