‘I know my body a lot better now’ – Lynn
The Wankhede Stadium is heaving, as it does at every Mumbai Indians home match. Kolkata’s Chris Woakes runs in and bowls to his team-mate in England colours, Jos Buttler. Buttler, aggressive as ever, comes down the track but doesn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball. He tries to hoist it over the long-off boundary but only succeeds in skying it.
Chris Lynn, fielding at mid-off, turns and sets off at full speed on the chase. It’s touch and go as to whether he’ll get there. But he’s not the sort to die wondering. He’s the sort who dives, wondering. And so as the ball drops, still a little too far away, he hurls himself full stretch, intent only on taking the catch. He crashes into the ground and he’s just short. But far worse, he feels the tell-tale pop in his left shoulder joint. He’s felt this before and he knows what it means.
This was the moment Chris Lynn thought his Champions Trophy hopes were over.
A third injury to the same shoulder in less than two years didn’t bode well for a player who has all too often suffered an injury setback at the worst possible time. After the match, of of Lynn’s frustration was distilled in a single tweet: “Dear Cricket Gods, did I do something wrong?”
Now, fully fit on the eve of Australia’s Champions Trophy campaign, Lynn vividly remembers the fear that enveloped him when he thought his IPL season was finished and his chances of representing his country in England were gone.
“Yeah I was shitting myself to be honest,” said a typically laconic Lynn. “I was in good nick as well. It was probably the first thing that crossed my mind that it would dampen my chances of playing here.
“That’s why I stayed over in India because I knew, there’s not a great deal to do over in India, but rehab was the first priority.
“So I smashed that every day and I knew that if I stayed over there and tried to get a bit of game time I’d give myself every chance to get myself fit for this.”
It took three and a half weeks for Lynn to get himself back on the park and he scored 50 and 84 in his first two matches back for KKR, picking up from his blistering start to the IPL.
“I was really determined to get back from that dislocation and I didn’t lose any form over that period,” Lynn said. “I think first game back in the IPL I struck the ball really well so I’m confident if I get a chance that I can contribute to the side and, not only just contribute, but hopefully put up a couple of big scores or match wining knocks here or there.
“It’s a good feeling that I know my body a lot better now, know my restrictions, so we’ll see how we go.”
Fortunately for Australia, those restrictions don’t affect his batting. But he has been forced to reevaluate his technique in the field.
“I can’t dive with my arms outstretched,” said Lynn. “It’s got to be sort of nice and tight in. it’s taken me a couple of dislocations to get that but I’ve got a fair bit of strapping on there to remind me so I think, as much as you want to try and dive and save as many runs for your team, there’s a point where you’ve got to reel it in and be realistic with your body so I’m pretty comfortable with it at the moment.”
Such restraint doesn’t come naturally to Lynn, a ferociously powerful batsman whose aggressive demolition of bowlers in T20 tournaments has spawned its own hashtag. But he knows that in a tournament that leaves little room for error and a format which, should he break into Australia’s starting line up, sometimes requires batsmen to craft an innings, he may at times have to curb his natural aggression. A little less #Lynnsanity and a little more #Lynngenuity, if you will.
“I guess I’ve got to sum up each game as they come and each scenario,” said Lynn. “If I do get the license out there obviously it’s going to be good fun and hopefully I can get going but if we do, say, lose a couple of early ones then I’ve got to pull my head in and reel it in and play some smart cricket.
“I think the way I played in India, obviously there were a lot of big hits over there, but I thought my game awareness was pretty good as well in certain situations so I’ve just got to find the right tempo and find it as early as possible.”
Whether or not Lynn gets the opportunity to find his tempo remains to be seen. Australia’s powerful batting line up means there’s no guarantee Lynn will make the starting XI. He claims he hasn’t even thought about selection and is relaxed about slotting in to a 50-over team after an extended run in the T20 format.
“Does my role change?” asked Lynn. “I’m not sure yet. At the end of the day it’s a white ball coming down at me and if I can smack the ball like I do in T20 I’ll be pretty happy but finding that right tempo is key and working out when to play smart cricket and when to have a go.
“Whoever plays in the best XI is obviously there for a reason and whoever’s missing out is a bit, well, not stiff because who do you drop out of that line up? We’re all good players.
“Whatever happens, mate, if we win the comp who cares?`’
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo