Category Archives: T20

Swap Lynn for Voges (Eventually)

They’re calling it ‘Lynn-sanity’.

As of 8 January, Chris Lynn has scored more runs (321 at an average of 64.20) than any other player thus far in the Big Bash League, and whacked more sixes (20) than any other batsman. He has faced more balls (189) than any other batsman in the BBL (thanks largely to repeated failures by disappointing West Indian import Lendl Simmons, who opens the batting for the Heat).

But the selectors should not pigeonhole Lynn as merely a T20 slogger.

Unlike many others who have starred in the short form of the game (e.g. Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell), Lynn actually possesses an attractive batting technique and a proven track record in longer form red-ball cricket (i.e. a first class average of 45.88). Lynn should be earmarked for higher honours, not only in the ODI team – from which he was recently excluded – but also the Test team.

With Usman Khawaja now back in the Test team, 36-year old Adam Voges has a lock on the No. 5 spot until he chooses to retire. The selectors should be seeking to identify his replacement. Their repeated attempts to shoe-horn Shaun Marsh into the Test team are misguided and a waste of time. Not only has Marsh demonstrated his mediocrity as a Test player, he’s too old. By the time Voges retires, Marsh will be 35 or 36. Will the selectors still be lauding his alleged ‘talent’ and ‘potential’ then? What would be the point?

No. They must go for youth.

Cameron Bancroft is promising, but he’s an opening batsman. His best chance is to hope that Joe Burns fails and needs to be replaced. At 24, Nic Maddinson has been touted as a future star since his first-class debut five years ago but has never managed to string together the scores he needs.

First-class careerAgeMatInnsNORunsHSAve10050
Lynn, Chris2535598234025045.88511
Marsh, Shaun3211520324701018239.161732
Maddinson, N2451896318218138.33715
Bancroft, C2329532186421136.5456

Lynn’s biggest problem has been injury rather than form. Lynn missed the entire 2012-13 Sheffield Shield season after copping a nasty blow to the groin from a Doug Bollinger thunderbolt. He returned to average 58.70 in seven matches in the 2013-14 Shield season AND make 104 and 61 not out against the touring England team before missing the first half of the 2014-15 season following shoulder surgery. He still managed to average 62.71 in  five Shield matches, including 250 against Victoria in February 2015. Lynn then dislocated his shoulder in September 2015 and missed the entire 2015 Matador Cup and the first half of the 2015-16 Shield season.

Lynn needs to stay on the park long enough to rack up some red-ball runs. If only he can stay fit and maintain the sort of form he has displayed in the past, it will be difficult to overlook him when Voges finally calls it quits.

The Convert


Hallelujah! Last night I took my two young daughters to our first T20 match.


I haven’t been living in a cave – I know T20 cricket has become extremely popular in recent years – but I confess I had underestimated the extent to which the promoters of the Big Bash League have successfully packaged the format as family entertainment. I know I’m late in reaching this conclusion and that there are plenty of families out there who realized this ages ago (perhaps it was the 26,000 people at the stadium who gave it away), but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the revelation.

I finally understood that when we think of T20 we need to let go of the idea that it is all about the cricket. That’s only part of it. The spectacle, noise, fun and the involvement of children as fans is at least as important as the game itself. Most of us are familiar with the trademarks of T20 cricket – fireworks at the beginning of the innings, flame jets that erupt when boundaries are scored, electric bails that flash when the stumps are broken, rock music blaring between deliveries, gyrating cheerleaders and costume-clad mascots doing backflips on the sidelines, and Rocket Man, who flies across the stadium at half-time wearing a jet pack – but you really have to attend a game with your kids to understand how much fun the whole package actually is. I don’t follow any football code but might have twigged earlier if I did, because what’s happening in the BBL obviously resembles the franchise-based club system that has worked so well in other sports.

Having said all that, it’s also important to note the standard of the cricket is improving with the BBL now in its fifth year. Four or five years ago, T20 appeared (in my humble opinion) a slap-dash business, with batsmen swatting at everything and hoping for the best, and bowlers banging the ball in and crossing their fingers. At the time, there just didn’t seem to be that much skill involved, and that turned me off. It seemed mostly random.

But things have changed. Even the staunchest Test cricket adherent would – or at least should – acknowledge that T20 requires a skill set that overlaps with but is not identical to that required in the longer forms. Pacing a run chase between the 10th and 20th overs, bowling at the death, even catching a high ball under lights – you don’t walk out of Test or even 50-over cricket and automatically possess these talents. The best T20 players have taken some time to develop these skills and one can’t deny that some of them are darn good at what they do.

As Geoff Lawson correctly notes, it is possible that the strong start to this BBL season is related in part to the low standard of the touring West Indies Test team (and to that I would add the dreadful quality of the flat pitches for the Brisbane and Perth Tests against New Zealand). It has been one of the poorest summers of Test cricket in years, and some Test cricket fans desperate for something to watch are being driven into the arms of the T20 promoters. I’m one of them.

And while Lawson is not the first to suggest a tiered Test cricket competition in which only the best teams are invited to play against Australia, I also think he has a point when he suggests the success of the domestic T20 tournament may actually play a part in making this happen, when he writes,

‘If a domestic tournament can out-rate and out-draw the international team, then CA may look at only inviting the big three Test countries – South Africa, England and India – in the future and expand the BBL franchises. If money alone rather than investment in the diverse nature of the game is the deciding factor, then the face of cricket in Australia may be in for a rapid slap.’

But back to my family’s experience.

My two girls had an absolute blast. Okay, shucks, so did I.

Even before the end of the game (which our home team lost), the eldest was asking when we could come again to see another match. Yes, they will want home team merchandise (baseball caps, T-shirts, banners) and yes, I will buy at least some of that stuff for them. Score another for the promoters. When I told my eldest daughter of the Women’s BBL she was wide-eyed: ‘You mean, I can play cricket, too?’