Lynn puts new spin on World Cup campaign
Brisbane Heat blaster improves in key area that could reignite his World Cup ambitions
Louis Cameron in Geelong
14 January 2019, 12:02 PM AEST
Axed one-day batsman Chris Lynn has copped feedback that he needs to improve his play against spin squarely on the chin, with statistical analysis suggesting the BBL star is making strides against the turning ball.
Lynn has taken the time-honoured 'weight of runs' mantra to heart in his bid to win back his ODI spot ahead of this year's World Cup, storming to the top of the KFC BBL's run-scoring charts on Sunday as the Brisbane Heat inflicted a monster 101-run win over the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong.
Boosted by a powerplay blitz from youngster Max Bryant (44 off 24 balls), the Bash Brothers then got up to their usual tricks with Lynn (66 not out off 44) and Brendon McCullum (69 off 43) cracking nine sixes between them to record the second-largest winning margin (by runs) in the competition's history.
After successful recent Indian Premier League stints where spinners play a major role in curtailing big hitters, Lynn believes his play against the turning ball has improved and the numbers would appear to back that up.
Data provided by Opta show Lynn's strike-rate against spin in BBL|08 (130.5) is almost as high as it's ever been in the competition (it peaked at 133 in BBL|06 when his overall strike-rate was 178) and significantly up from last season's 110.5 against spin.
Arguably more importantly for Lynn as teams look to target his assumed weakness, the difference in his strike rate against spin and pace is smaller than ever. This year, he scores at only a marginally quicker clip against pace (135 runs per 100 balls) than spin.
That stands in stark contrast to previous Big Bash seasons, even during his player-of-the-tournament campaigns in BBL|05 and BBL|06, where quality spinners had a far greater effect negating Lynn. In BBL|05, his strike-rate was 119 against spin and 190 against quicks, and in BBL|07, those figures stood at 110 and 200 respectively.
While Lynn has only faced 11 balls of spin in his four-game ODI career, he admits criticism of his output in his long-awaited, and ultimately short-lived, return to the one-day team last November against South Africa was warranted, posting scores of 15, 44 and then a duck at a strike-rate of 76.
"Finchy came out last week and said something about playing spin in the middle (overs) and that's 100 per cent true," said Lynn.
"I know that. At the end of the day you can only select from prior performances, I didn't put the runs on the board.
"They won (the first game) and I'm really happy they are winning, hopefully they can win the series against India because that'd be an amazing bounce back from the Test series."
Lynn said he's prepared to bide his time after his replacements Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja both struck half-centuries to help Australia to a 34-run victory in the Gillette ODI Series-opener against India on Saturday.
"You look at that line up and there's power up and down the list," said Lynn. "Petey and Uzzie are the guys with the least power, but they still clear the fence and have so much time when they bat.
"There's an elegance to that line-up and there's also that brute power with (Glenn) Maxwell and (Marcus) Stoinis to complement them. It's a pretty good balance at the moment."
Lynn wants to channel the likes of former Queensland batters Matthew Hayden and Martin Love, who plundered domestic bowling attacks season after season before getting national recognition, to earn his ODI spot back.
While he hasn't reached quite the same six-hitting heights that saw him take out back-to-back player of the tournament awards in BBL|05 and BBL|06, the 28-year-old is now on track to be the leading run scorer in both the JLT One-Day Cup and BBL in the same summer.
The Queensland captain led all-comers in the domestic 50-over tournament earlier this season with 452 runs at 75.33 with two tons, while he overtook Jos Buttler on Sunday at the top of the BBL run charts and now has 313 runs at 52.16.
"I've just got to put the runs on the board," said Lynn. "You look at JL (Justin Langer) who's that old-school type coach and selector, (he says) you've just got to do it the hard way and bang down with plenty of runs.
"You look back 10 or 15 years, Matty Hayden, Martin Love had to score 1000-plus runs to even get a look in.
"That is a different format but I can only do what's in front of me and that's the Big Bash."
Australia have two more 50-over games against India at home before their World Cup preparations ramp up with successive five-match ODI series away to India and Pakistan.
Lynn is confident he could still play a part in helping Australia defend their world title.
"It's a good problem to have for Australian cricket with guys scoring runs," the Heat skipper said.
"We haven't had the success we would have liked over the last 12 months, but it is what it is and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I can see things really building which is that end goal of the World Cup."