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‘Excitement machine’ Lynn must win spot

Coach hints Australia may opt for experienced opening pair when the Champions Trophy gets underway in the UK next month

National coach Darren Lehmann has given an early indication that Australia will opt for the experienced opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch over "excitement machine" Chris Lynn as they bid to win an unprecedented third ICC Champions Trophy tournament next month in England. 

Lynn has been in devastating form for Kolkata Knight Riders at the top of the order in this year's Indian Premier League, scoring 291 runs at an average of 58.20 and a strike-rate of 187.74. 

The dynamic right-hander made his ODI debut in January but injuries have prevented him from staking a claim for a regular place in the side.

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However, with neither Shaun Marsh nor Usman Khawaja selected in Australia's squad for the upcoming global 50-over tournament, Lynn looks as close as he ever has been to being presented with an extended opportunity in green and gold. 

Lehmann, however, said there was no guarantee the 27-year-old would be picked in the starting XI, with Finch seemingly back in favour after being dumped from the side last summer, and fellow middle-order candidates Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques all offering an option with the ball as well. 

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"First he's got to get selected in the XI and then the captain will tell him where he's going to bat," Lehmann told media in Brisbane today, ahead of flying out to London with the Australia-based members of the squad tonight. 

"We've had discussions – I mean he's an excitement machine, so we hope he pulls up well with his injuries and plays some cricket for us."

Pressed on whether Lynn would be a viable option opening the batting – given his form against the new white ball in India and the merry-go-round selections of Warner's opening partner in recent times (five different batsmen have been used alongside the vice-captain since the beginning of last year) – Lehmann appeared to suggest it was unlikely.

"So you don't want Warner to open? (Or) you don't want Finch to open?" he said. "We'll sum up what we think the best XI is and then work out a batting order from there. 

"The advantage is with England we know the wickets might do a little bit early, so we'll have to work out what our best line-up is (with that in mind)."

That way of thinking would likely also favour Finch; the right-hander has played for Yorkshire (2014-15) and Surrey (2016) over the past three years in the County Championship, and averaged 47.13 with two centuries against the red Dukes ball. 

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In List A matches in England the Victorian averages 32.44 from nine innings, while that number jumps to 41.80 from seven ODIs in the country. 

Lynn is yet to play elite level cricket in England, while aside from his solitary ODI against Pakistan in January, he has played just 10 List A matches – all for Australia A – since November 2013, making 268 runs at 29.77.

Lehmann also addressed the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association, conceding that it was a distraction his squad members simply had to overcome. 

"It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there's no doubt about that," he said. "But we just have to concentrate on cricket; we're there to do a job and play as well as we possibly can. 

"We'll talk about it when we all meet, you have to do that. You've got to keep it open with communication, so we know what direction everyone is going. 

"But at the end of the day it's about getting ready for that first game, and playing well. 

"Because over the next three years we go to England for a one-day series (2018) and then the World Cup before the Ashes (2019), so it's a pretty important tournament for us in many ways."


Champions Trophy 2017 Guide


Squads: Every Champions Trophy squad named so far

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh.

Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.


Schedule


Warm-up matches


26 May – Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval

27 May – Bangladesh v Pakistan, Edgbaston

28 May – India v New Zealand, The Oval

29 May – Australia v Pakistan, Edgbaston

30 May – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Edgbaston

30 May – Bangladesh vs India, The Oval


Tournament


1 June – England v Bangladesh, The Oval (Day)

2 June – Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (D)

3 June – Sri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (D)

4 June – India v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)

5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)

6 June – England v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)

7 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)

8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)

9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)

10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 June – Final, The Oval (D)


19 June – Reserve day (D)


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