Qantas Tour of NZ 2018
Lynn looking 'as good as ever': Tye
Brisbane Heat master blaster set to explode in international return in upcoming T20 tri-series
Louis Cameron in Sydney
1 February 2018, 03:22 PM AEST
Chris Lynn’s first outing for Australia in more than a year looks set to come at the perfect time, with a national teammate suggesting the six-hitting sensation is hitting the ball as well as he ever has.
Brisbane Heat's KFC Big Bash League campaign may have fizzled out but their prized asset will – fitness pending – almost certainly feature in Australia's top-order for their Gillette T20 tri-series opener against New Zealand on Saturday.
Having had his return to the ODI side scuppered by a calf injury last month, Lynn is set to be one of the major drawcards for the T20 series also featuring England.
The 27-year-old looked largely uninhibited during the squad's first training session together on Wednesday, participating in running drills on the SCG outfield before taking on bowlers in a lengthy net session.
Lynn struck the ball as cleanly as any of the leading Australia batters, which include the likes of stand-in captain David Warner and big-hitter Glenn Maxwell.
On a number of occasions, Lynn sent the ball flying out of the nets to leave bowlers and support staff ducking for cover.
Look out, Chris Lynn is BACK in Aussie colours... pic.twitter.com/mKPeNxj9mM— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) February 1, 2018
Billy Stanlake bore the brunt of one powerful drive on the ankle. The towering speedster was unhurt, thankfully for Australia.
"He's hitting them pretty well, he's looking as good as ever," said fast bowler Andrew Tye. "He's ready to take down some bowlers."
Lynn has previously conceded his left shoulder remains an issue and has yet to fully heal from surgery he had over the off-season.
The Heat accordingly stationed him in low-traffic areas of the field (as difficult as they are to find) during his five KFC BBL games for them this summer, and Australia will likely to do the same. The Queensland practiced his slips catching on Wednesday, though it’s rare for teams to use slips fielders for more than an over or two at a time in T20s.
"They're comfortable with how my body's going at the moment," Lynn said of national selectors earlier this week. “They're comfortable with my throwing and diving in the field.
"I would've loved to have played a few more games to get the confidence up but at the end of the day whether I'm playing for Australia or Brisbane Heat I'm putting in 100 per cent.
"(My shoulder is) getting there. It's not 100 per cent. Won't be for probably another 12 months if I'm being honest. I've just started to throw on my left side now, which is a good sign.
"But I'm not going to rush back – if I do (reinjure the shoulder), there was pretty much no point of having the surgery in the first place. So it's small steps but I'm confident with how it's going."
Lynn's presence bodes well for an Australia outfit missing the likes of regular skipper Steve Smith and pace trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Lifting themselves up from a lowly seventh on the International Cricket Council's T20 team rankings remains a major priority of the national side ahead of the next World T20, the only major piece of international silverware that's eluded Australia.
Fourth-ranked England, who trounced Australia 4-1 in the recent Gillette ODI series and were runners-up at the last WT20 in 2016, and New Zealand, now ranked second on the ICC's T20I charts after being displaced by Pakistan during their recent series, will present a stern test for Warner's new-look side.
"They're eager to get in and get amongst it and provide some energy," Tye said of the squad also featuring BBL stars D’Arcy Short, Alex Carey and Ben Dwarshuis. "Coming off the fact they’ve been playing a full Big Bash is really good for them.
"We're looking and expecting to good things from this group.
"We know we've underperformed in this format for a while now.
"We're definitely trying to rectify that and try to move up in those rankings and get up to the top where we should be."
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.
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
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