When on song, Chris Lynn is an annihilator, a dominator and a true match-winner! Everything about his batting is intoxicating, and 'Lynnsane'. That's a lot of hats for a player who generally plays only one format - Twenty20. The hard-hitting right-hander from Queensland is also the first T20 specialist to emerge from Australia. Lynn's career has been marred with injuries at unfortunate times and it's common to refer to his journey as a roller-coaster ride. However, his exploits in the franchise-based leagues around the globe have made him a T20 legend.
A BBL MAVERICK
Lynn is inarguably the biggest star that the Big Bash League has ever produced since its inception in 2011. No other batsman has scored more runs and smashed more sixes than Lynn in Australia's professional franchise T20 league. The world actually got the first glimpse of Lynn in the inaugural edition of the BBL when he slammed a couple of match-winning cameos for Brisbane Heat. The franchise saw the potential and decided to invest heavily on him. Lynn performed steadily for the franchise in the next three seasons and soon became a fan favourite. People started coming in large numbers just to watch him go berserk that even left the detractors in awe.
In between, Lynn also made his T20I debut but his international career never took off because of inconsistent performances but largely due to multiple shoulder injuries. He had already made his Indian Premier League debut and was doing all the right things but still needed that blockbuster season to graduate to the next level. And that blockbuster season came in 2015. The right-handed dasher stood head and shoulders above the rest, amassing 378 runs in eight innings at an average of 54 and a strike-rate of 173.39. However, Brisbane didn't make it to the semi-finals as he found no support, with not a single batsman apart from him crossing the 200-run mark.
Till that season, Lynn was averaging just 29 in the BBL. However, since the 2015 edition, Lynn is scoring runs at an impressive average of 43.43 and a strike-rate of 153.3. He was constantly struggling against spinners, averaging just 22.36 against them. While he was striking at 165.74 against pacers, his strike-rate against spin bowling was just 114.95. However, it all changed after that big season where he stamped his authority in style. The Queenslander is still at his best against fast bowlers but started playing spinners more cautiously and only pounced on bad deliveries. That also helped him improve his balls per dismissal - from 20.1 to 28.3.
Lynn never looked back after that season and became the BBL's biggest star. In the next edition, he smashed 309 runs at an astonishing average of 154.50 at an unbelievable strike-rate of 177.59 and was only dismissed twice in five encounters. He had a decent 2017-18 season but didn't look at his best. However, in the next two seasons, Lynn scored 385 and 387 runs respectively. Last season, in the space of three innings, Lynn produced blistering knocks which included a 35-ball 94 and a 55-ball 88* that had a combined 15 fours and 14 maximums.
WORTH INR 9.6 CRORE?
While he became a house-hold name in the BBL, the Indian audience had to wait for a few years to experience the 'Lynnsanity' - a reworked catchphrase derived from 'Linsanity' which gained global attention through the deeds of New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin.
He was with Deccan Chargers for the 4th and 5th seasons of the IPL before Sunrisers Hyderabad signed him for the 6th. He was released by the Hyderabad franchise ahead of the 2014 auction in which he was acquired by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 1.3 crore. He made an impressive start for the franchise, scoring 45 runs and taking that match-winning catch to dismiss AB de Villiers at deep mid-wicket. He was named player of the match for his efforts. However, due to an injured shoulder and other commitments, Lynn couldn't play as many matches as he would have liked in the 2014 and 2016 editions, and couldn't take part in the entire 2015 season.
In 2017, Lynn only featured in seven games before his season was cut short by another shoulder injury. However, those seven matches were enough for Lynn to make a statement as he scored 295 runs at an average of almost 50 and a strike-rate of 181. He smoked 93* off 41 against Gujarat Lions and played a couple of other valuable knocks.
He wasn't retained ahead of the 2018 mega-auction but Kolkata got him back for a whopping INR 9.6 crore. It was a risk Kolkata were willing to take considering his injury-prone nature but Lynn played 29 of the total 30 games Kolkata played in the next two seasons. He formed a deadly opening combination with Sunil Narine but played a slightly different role than what he is known for. He batted with more maturity considering Kolkata had a young squad and managed 491 and 405 runs in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Lynn, who was also part of the leadership group, managed 14 40+ scores in the last two seasons which tells you he was consistent and he did at a strike-rate of over 134, which is not bad by any means.
He played quite a few match-winning knocks for the franchise and scored the most number of runs for Kolkata in these two years. Just like in the BBL - cautious v spinners and brutal v pacers, Lynn has been more dangerous against fast bowlers, averaging 36.88 compared to 27.82 against spinners in the last two years. He has a fantastic strike-rate of 150.13 against the former, which drops to 111.68 against spinners. In particular, he struggles to get going against offspinners in the IPL and his strike-rate of 115.3 - lowest for him against any bowling type - reflects the same.
BBL v IPL
In IPL, Lynn, who turned 30 on Friday (April 10), might not have been as destructive as he has been in the BBL since the start but the opener by no means has been less productive. He was given a different role during his stint with Kolkata and he played that to perfection. If we look at his record in the last three editions of the IPL and BBL, Lynn actually has a slightly better strike-rate in the Indian T20 league.
Lynn however has been a bit more impactful for his BBL franchise Brisbane in the matches that they have won in the last three seasons. He has an average of 59.2 and a strike-rate of 159.1 in the 15 matches Brisbane have won since the 2017-18 edition. If we compare it to his efforts in the matches Kolkata have won since IPL 2017, Lynn averages 38.38 and has a strike-rate of close to 146.
He was released by Kolkata ahead of the 2020 auction. Lynn has now found a new home at Mumbai Indians who got him for his base price of INR 2 crore. Unlike the Kolkata set-up, Mumbai have many experienced players and are the most successful side in the history of the tournament, winning the title four times. They have a solid middle-order and that will allow Lynn to bat more freely and at just INR 2 crore, he could prove to be the biggest steal. "Quality franchise. Flat wicket. Don’t have to play against Jasprit Bumrah," Lynn is eager to walk out at the Wankhede and set the roof on fire.