With 2019 World Cup in mind, Chris Lynn hopes to avoid Queensland ‘captaincy curse’

Chris Lynn, the big-hitting but injury-prone Australian batsman, has his sights on booking himself a ticket to next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup – provided he stays fit and does not fall victim to the ‘captaincy curse’ he suffered four years ago.

In an interview with cricket.com.au, Lynn revealed what Australia’s new coach Justin Langer told him regarding next summer’s World Cup and hoped to use the Australian domestic season and the upcoming Caribbean Premier League to push his case for selection.

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“[Langer] has expressed that the World Cup is there, but whether or not there’s a spot for me is up to me. [He said to] keep the body right, and don’t give anyone any reason to say no to you,” said the 28-year-old. “So the chance is there but I’ve got to bang the door down with runs. It’s as simple as that.

“If I get a World Cup spot then I’ll have deserved it, and it will be awesome to be a part of. But cricket’s a numbers game – you only have to look at the numbers to pick a side sometimes. I’ll know myself whether I deserve to be there or not.”

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A string of operations for a worrisome shoulder has meant that Lynn, who has played 10 ODIs and one T20I for Australia in four years, has not featured for his state side Queensland in a single List A game since 2013. On Monday, Lynn was unveiled as Queensland’s vice-captain for the JLT One-Day Cup, but it looks likely that he will be elevated to leader in Usman Khawaja’s absence.

Harking back to 2014 when he was about to named skipper but was set back by the shoulder injury, Lynn was hopeful of avoiding a repeat.

“Touch wood, that doesn’t happen again. I always had the intention of playing in the JLT (Cup) this season, then with the injury to Jimmy Peirson (hamstring) and ‘Uzzy’ (Khawaja) playing Test stuff, I was formally put into a leadership position,” he said.  “So to have the vice-captaincy next to my name and – with Uzzy not being there – a high chance of being captain, it feels great. I feel like my game awareness is getting stronger and stronger. Being a leader in teams now is important to me – I want to lead from the front with the bat, and hopefully I can do that in Queensland colours.”

Lynn will next play for Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL which starts August 18, and said that he was good shape. ”The last month I’ve been ripping into training and the body feels good. feel like I’ve had the best preparation going into a tournament in a long time,” he said.  “I’m feeling mentally refreshed as well; I had a good break after the IPL. As everyone knows, I’ve missed a lot of cricket over the past four years, and been quite down at times, but I’m in a really good place at the moment and looking forward to playing again.”

At January’s IPL player auction, Lynn went back to two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 9.60 crore from a base price of 2 crore. He remained injury-free during the season and finished second on KKR’s run-charts with 491 from 16 matches at a strike-rate of 130.23.

Compared to the 2017 IPL where he smashed 295 runs at a strike-rate of 180.98 in just seven innings before he damaged his left shoulder, Lynn’s strike-rate this season was much lower but he said he was pleased with his performances for the franchise.

“We had a different line-up this year at Kolkata, so I played what was best for the team,” he explained. “I haven’t played a great deal of one-day cricket but I felt like the way I played in the IPL was very similar to how I would pace myself across 50 overs. It wasn’t exactly batting with all the bells and whistles, or just hitting boundaries – I had to grind out a lot of runs and play a lot smarter cricket.”