Qantas Tour of NZ 2018
Playing for Australia is priority No.1: Lynn
Brisbane Heat star shone on the international stage and showed an improved game against slow bowling
Louis Cameron at the SCG
4 February 2018, 01:09 AM AEST
Six-hitting maestro Chris Lynn has stressed becoming a T20 mercenary does not trump his desire to play for Australia and clarified that his hopes to play Test cricket are merely on hold, rather than permanently extinguished.
Amazingly given his unrivalled appeal as a short-format drawcard, Lynn turned out in Australian colours for just the seventh time of his career on Saturday evening and composed a mature knock of 44 off 33 balls to lead the hosts to a comfortable seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the Gillette T20 tri-series opener in Sydney.
It was far from his most explosive innings but the right-hander's improvements against spin –an area teams have previously identified as a weakness – were on full display, hitting five of his seven boundaries off the Black Caps trump cards Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.
Lynn, who turned down a Queensland contract at the start of this season, looks set to play T20 cricket exclusively this summer and in the coming months having had his return to ODI cricket scuppered by a calf injury last month.
Following this T20 series that concludes with a final in Auckland on February 21, the 28-year-old will play alongside his Brisbane Heat 'Bash Brother' Brendon McCullum in the Pakistan Super League in February-March. After which, he'll play in the Indian Premier League having been picked up to play for an eye-popping A$1.86 million by Kolkata.
But the 27-year-old insists playing for his country takes precedence over everything else.
"My number one priority, and always will be my number one priority, is playing for Australia," Lynn told reporters on Saturday.
"It might just be in the shorter formats at this stage. Those T20 leagues are great and I'll always put my hands up for them, but if they clash with Australian duties, I'm always going to play for Australia.
"Playing tonight is the best feeling in the world.
"It's great fun, the changeroom is amazing, I've learnt from the best players and get to be a part of the Australian system.
"As a kid growing up, you want to be part of the Australian change room, I've said that will always be my No.1 priority.
"There's World Cups around the corner, I want to be a strong part of them and basically it started tonight."
Lynn's incredible feats in the KFC Big Bash League and in T20 leagues around the world have overshadowed the fact his first-class record stacks up well alongside most of Australia’s leading domestic batsmen.
In 41 first-class games – 38 for Queensland, two for Australia A and a one-off tour match against England in 2013-14 – Lynn has a healthy batting average of 43.53 with six hundreds, including a record-breaking 250 against Victoria in 2015.
The prospect of Lynn slotting in to Australia's Test middle-order is enough to make cricket fans salivate but, speaking to Triple M earlier this week, he appeared to play down those chances.
"Ever since my best mate Phil Hughes passed away it's, 'What do you want out of life?'," said Lynn. "I ask myself that every day. Does it make be a better person if I've got that Baggy Green on the wall? That's up to anyone's opinion really."
Lynn however shed further light on his Test aspirations on Saturday evening, explaining that his injury issues – he's still recovering from off-season surgery following his third serious shoulder injury in two years and has also had hamstring and calf niggles this summer – currently make four-day cricket far too physically demanding at present.
And although he’s put his Baggy Green dream on hold for at least the next 12 months, he has not given up hope of one day playing Test cricket.
"If I was to play a four-day Sheffield Shield game, playing day one that's fine, but there's no way I could back up days two, three and four," said Lynn.
"That's the worst feeling in the world – putting your hand up to say you can play and then letting your teammates down when you only have 10 on the field. That's what hurts the most.
"I'd rather just put it away for probably 12 months, but I definitely wouldn’t burn that bridge, still (want to) keep that door open.
"But it's on hold for now. I just want to play some cricket. I was pretty hungry to play the 50-over stuff but even deep down inside I thought I would struggle to play this last campaign (the Gillette ODI series against England).
"This is a great platform to hit the ground running and I’ve got some good cricket moving ahead."
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.
First T20I Australia won by seven wickets. Scorecard
Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21