So, after 11 seasons and a particularly long showreel, the most celebrated player-club relationship in KFC BBL history is over.
Today’s news of the Brisbane Heat parting ways with tournament top scorer Chris Lynn has divided fans and rekindled memories of remarkable deeds.
Whatever one’s opinion on the Heat’s decision to sever ties with their record hitter, it’s hard to argue against the idea that peak Lynn (which also stands for peak ‘Bash Brothers’, along with the Lynn’s good friend and legendary Kiwi blaster Brendon McCullum in tow) was BBL’s hottest ticket; a fun, furious, free-wheeling assault on the senses that hasn’t been matched in the competition for pure entertainment.
“You look at Brisbane and our identity is based on ‘Lynny’ in many ways,” former Heat manager Dan Vettori told cricket.com.au. “When people talk about the Brisbane Heat, they talk about Lynny, they talk about the style of play, they talk about how far he can hit the ball.
In 2015, Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara called Lynn “almost a force of nature…a guy I’d pay to go watch, anytime, in any format.”
But let’s put the nostalgia aside for a minute and consider the future. The thing is, the benefits here for Lynn, the Heat and the competition itself could be significant. For starters, the tournament’s most successful hitter is now a free agent, a walk-in entertainment package ready and willing to be bought by the highest bidder.
Then add what that means for the Heat, the BBL wild card trying to shed that unwanted reputation for something neater, or at least something that translates to more Finals appearances.
Where now for Wade Seccombe’s team? With Brisbane-based Usman Khawaja recently announcing his departure from the Sydney Thunder and his wife Rachel having just had their second child, it seems there is a good chance Seccombe will secure the services of his captain. state, a man who also happens to be Australian. The hottest Test hitter right now, one who boasts an outstanding Big Bash record and has also been credited with playing a significant role in transforming Queensland Bulls culture over the past decade.
And what about Lynn? Which club(s) will go for him? What is the risk/reward ratio? Does the six-shot superstar still have it? How much is it worth?
Last summer, Lynn was fourth among Heat hitters in runs scored, his 215 at 17.91 (a fifty) a shadow of his league-best record from six summers earlier, putting him propelled to the record five-year, million dollar face heat that recently expired.
For Lynn, it was a second straight summer punctuated by complications from COVID-19 and frustration with the expanded schedule. Excuses? Maybe, but last season’s poor comebacks were unique in the larger context of his career.
To some extent he has in recent years been the victim of his own outrageous scandal; in BBL | 10, his 420 runs were third in the regular season, but because his performances lacked the same pyrotechnics as years past, they were largely glossed over, even though the Heat only reached the Finals for second. times since their title-winning BBL|02.
In the previous two seasons, he was the Heat’s top scorer, finishing 13th (BBL|09) and sixth (BBL|08) on the overall roster, meaning even with his disappointing comebacks last summer, he’s coming. still ranked eighth on the BBL scoring list over the past four tournaments combined.
All of those numbers tell a simple story: Lynn has been fairly consistent in recent years without hitting those ridiculous highs of BBL|05 and BBL|06, when he and McCullum ensured that Gabba sales were becoming routine.
If they have the cash to spend, some clubs are likely to find the 32-year-old’s six-running and marketing legacy hard to ignore. Which raises another question: who can afford Lynn? Many clubs have top hitters stuck on long-term, top-flight deals, which could mean the Queenslander has to take a huge pay cut if he wants to sign elsewhere. Such a scenario could see him avoid the competition altogether; he could potentially win more in the national T20 tournaments of Bangladesh, Pakistan and even South Africa which are expected to overlap with the BBL window.
But what about the other side of Lynn? The one who once described his modus operandi as follows: “Train hard, play hard, send the ball over the fence, drink beer and support the winners.” Will clubs be cautious about signing a cricket maverick, or will someone, somewhere look at his runs, his cricketing us and his strength of personality, and see an ideal fit ?
Perhaps a change of scenery will invigorate and revitalize Lynn, stoking motivation that may have stalled last summer amid harsh climates. Maybe the right coach, the right club and the right conditions will reawaken the Lynn of old. Perhaps fatherhood – he and his partner are set to have their first child in September – will inspire him to new heights.
Current Heat captain Jimmy Peirson will be better off having a debut campaign under his belt. The new skipper will probably still be aware of the magnitude of his task; producing a consistent output from the Heat has been one of the big challenges of the competition. Seccombe, too, will benefit from the experience of having now had a tournament in the hot seat, and both men will be better off if the Heat can land the cool-headed Khawaja, a man more familiar with the rippling fortunes of professional cricket. than more.
Just how influential Khawaja could be looms as another intriguing subplot. The Heat will have to bank on their possible star rookie playing every Test this summer, although reports so far indicate at least the New Year’s Test will be the last on the schedule, which would free up the southpaw for the trade end of the bash. And as captain of Queensland and with a heavy Bulls side, plus Seccombe’s link as head coach of both, the 35-year-old could well make his mark before a ball is even played. .
Of course, until all unfolds, none of this is certain. What we do know is this: Lynn, Heat and Khawaja talking points are all healthy for the Big Bash. Over the past few seasons, the tournament has been maligned and written off – much like Lynn over the same period, which may or may not be coincidental – and as critics continue to point out flaws, this narrative will bring buzz. and hype and hope and excitement.
And that’s – again, like Lynn himself – what the Big Bash is meant to be.