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Feature

Chris Lynn: 'If you score runs, you get to pick and choose when you play. That's my motivation to do well'

After 11 years with Brisbane Heat, and a solid debut in the T20 Blast for Northants, the batter is looking forward to a "great new adventure" with Adelaide Strikers

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
31-Oct-2022
"Every year you get older and wiser, but your body does get a little bit slower - that's why I've been training my backside off to get to where I want to"  •  Getty Images

"Every year you get older and wiser, but your body does get a little bit slower - that's why I've been training my backside off to get to where I want to"  •  Getty Images

Chris Lynn's 11-year relationship with the Big Bash League has been symbiotic. He is the tournament's all-time leading run-scorer and his rise to prominence relied on the BBL, just as the BBL's growth owed so much to him. But earlier this year, it looked as though their relationship was about to end acrimoniously.
"Yeah, absolutely," Lynn confirms, when asked if there had ever been a realistic chance that he would miss the 2022-23 BBL. He had an offer from the table from Adelaide Strikers after leaving Brisbane Heat, but had also signed a lucrative contract as a marquee player for Gulf Giants in the inaugural ILT20 in the UAE, which starts in mid-January, before the end of the BBL season.
But after crisis talks, a compromise was struck: Lynn was granted a No-Objection Certificate by Cricket Australia and will play 11 out of Adelaide's 14 regular-season games before arriving in the UAE around one week late. "I've got a lot of respect for Cricket Australia about the outcome," Lynn says. "Every party wins. Common sense ultimately prevailed.
"I get to play cricket in Australia and also overseas. Ideally you want to be playing a full fixture list, but at the end of the day, I'm happy and Cricket Australia is happy. It's a game of cricket, and one player doesn't make a tournament. We want to try and keep it [the BBL] as strong as possible but different players are at different stages in their careers and at the end of the day, you have to look after number one."
At 32, he faces a new challenge after trading one shade of blue for another. "I knew deep down that I needed a change, and they probably got wind of that as well," Lynn explains. "I knew it was the right decision, but communication got a little bit messy and that's when 'he said, she said' conversations happen and it can get a little bit ugly."
He admits he was "disappointed" not to have been offered a contract, but was determined to maintain healthy relations with Heat and Queensland management with an eye on his post-playing career. "You can easily mouth off in the press but what are you going to gain from that? If an opportunity does come up in the future, I don't want to have burned that bridge by making some immature comments.
"I'm Brisbane born and bred. It hurts there and then, but I'm a big man and it's a game of cricket. I'm so cool with my decision now and I'm actually really excited to move. I'm sleeping well at night, that's the main thing. Adelaide is going to be a great new adventure and I'm looking forward to scoring plenty of runs - and hopefully against Brisbane."
Lynn will warm up for the BBL season with a two-week stint captaining Team Abu Dhabi in the Abu Dhabi T10, his first professional appearance since a successful T20 Blast stint with Northamptonshire, for whom he aggregated 516 runs in ten innings, with two unbeaten hundreds. "The squad lists have got stronger each year," he says. "Every player in the world wants to play in this tournament.
"I've been training for a couple of weeks now and my body feels in the best nick it has in probably three or four years. I want to get the respect of the Adelaide players and support staff - and the fans as well - when I get down there by hitting the ground running. Every year you get older and wiser but your body does get a little bit slower - that's why I've been training my backside off to get to where I want to."
Lynn has spent the last few months in Brisbane and the T20 World Cup has granted him the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, coaches and team-mates as they have passed through. Despite his stellar T20 record, Lynn never played in the tournament himself, but is tipping Tim David to have a big tournament: "He's the face of power-hitting now," he says.
He has recently become a father, and is hoping that a strong run of form over the next four months can allow him and his young family to travel the world together. "It gives you a different perspective," Lynn says. "The two years of Covid were an absolute nightmare. I'm not going to cry poor because I still got to work, but you do get a bit lonely at times and think 'why the hell am I still playing?'
"This year was the first time I've missed the IPL in about ten years. If you score runs, you get to pick and choose when you play. That's my motivation to do really well. If you don't score runs, are you going to get picked up at the next auction or draft? If you score runs, you get a lot more say in where you want to play. You can really call your own shots."
How long does he intend to keep playing? "The body is in good nick, so I'm hopeful I've still got a couple more years left," Lynn says, "but I'm never one to squeeze that juice until there's nothing left. I've got three months of solid cricket coming up, then I'm over at Northants where I've already signed again. And if you look too far down the track, you miss the fun bit along the way."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98