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Cameron White and debutant Chris Lynn were the latest feel-good tales on another successful night for Australia
January 29, 2014
On a day that Hobart's watching public apparently needed two trampolinists and two sets of breakdancers to tell us who was ahead, at any given moment, through tucked tumbles and Crip walks, it was something old and something new that helped Australia to an insurmountable 213.
Even as Ravi Bopara smited gleefully into the dusk, finishing with a ridiculous 65 off 27 balls - featuring seven maximums, some wristy as sin - it only served to compound just how frustrating it all was. Where was this Bopara in Adelaide?
But for Australia, the feel-good stories just keep rolling in, like the preliminary rounds of your favourite (definitely not rigged) talent show. Today was the turn of Cameron White - a man whose international highlights include debuting as an ODI substitute - yes, that was a real thing - for Damien Martyn against the ICC World XI - so was that - and playing in India as a Test legspinner (Sachin Tendulkar counts as one of his five wickets). He also used to be captain of this format.
Today, at the top of the order, in a position he has embraced, White brought brains to Aaron Finch's brawn, as the pair put on 106 inside 11 overs. White agreed with the insinuation that a spot at the top of the order in this form had reinvigorated him.
At Northamptonshire, his runs from first-drop were one of the many contributing factors to the county's Friend Life t20 win last season. In the final, his 54 not out helped blow Surrey out of the water before they had even began chasing. A familiar thought among those in the Northants dressing room was of disbelief that he had played so little international cricket.
"It's always nice to get back in these colours," White gushed, oblivious to the fact he was donned in a kit best described as off-black. His last appearance in an Australia shirt came in the 2012 World T20, against the West Indies. His effort today may, along with his form in the BBL - 201 runs at an average of 33.50 - see him push for the 2014 edition next month. But not in his books.
"Obviously David Warner and Shane Watson have got to come back in - I'm not exactly sure I'll be in the team. I can just concentrate on these next couple of games and put my best foot forward and score a few more runs. With that World Twenty20 around the corner, that's a bit of an aim, but I expect those guys to come back in."
|Despite the dead-eye stare and the assurance he carries, Lynn has his insecurities, particularly over his hair, which he is paranoid about losing|
White's modesty is understandable. International sport, unlike House DJs, is more at ease fashioning shiny new things than recycling forgotten classics. As such, it was Chris Lynn taking Australia to an emphatic score, even with the abbreviated boundary, that probably resonated more.
Lynn is on a very different path altogether, but one he hopes is not as stop-start as White's. His debut knock of 33 from just 19 balls featured three maximums, none of which were to the short side. His first in internationals was straight over the bowler's head, as was his third - sandwiched between both was a firm slap into the building site.
A popular character, Lynn first came to prominence as a Test hopeful before developing his big-hitting. His emergence, now, as an international class T20 batsman owes a lot to the time and effort Queensland cricket have put into him. The last few seasons have seen him used sparingly in Sheffield Shield, with a view to honing his game for limited-overs work. It's certainly paid off, with Lynn growing in stature as a power-hitting force with each season of the shortest form.
But despite the dead-eye stare and the assurance he carries, Lynn has his insecurities, particularly over his hair, which he is paranoid about losing. He often wears caps, not unlike the ones you see in the Big Bash League, to ensure the top of his head is rarely on display.
For a match, he will carry an array of caps in his kit bag for before, during and after, in a bid to cover his scalp. The story goes that one team-mate thought it would be funny to hide them, just before the lunch interval, to get a reaction out of Lynn. After sitting through the 40-minute interval, with no sign of him, Lynn's team-mates returned to the dressing room to find him sitting in his regular spot, with his batting helmet on.
Now, as he enters the international spotlight he'll do well to keep his head - and his hat - in check for what could be a very fruitful career.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?