There has been a bit of a hoo-haa over Chris Lynn’s decision to forfeit a contract with Queensland cricket for the 2017-18 season. In essence, some reporting circles have suggested it is the first move into the future of cricket, where able bodied young cricketers decide to renounce contracts with state or national teams in order to ply their trade unhindered in the various lucrative T20 leagues that are popping up all over the world. While it has been seen in recent times that international cricketers have retired, but continue to do exactly this, these players are generally in the mid-thirties, and are looking to make a few extra bucks in their twilight years in order to boost their superannuation. Brad Hodge has done this, and so too Brad Hogg. Shane Watson seems to be unable to break down like he used to and is playing all over the world. Brendan McCullum has taken this path as well, and no doubt Luke Ronchi is about to join them. But the fact that Lynn, aged 27, has done this seems to have outraged the pundits, and made some nay-sayers sceptical of the future of long form and Test cricket.
Well. What a load of rubbish. It heralds no such thing.
I have no facts or information as to the reasons behind Lynn’s decision. It could well be that it is exactly as the decriers of doom have said. But let’s look at this just a little more logically, and see if we can sort it out.
Chris Lynn is currently injured – again. He has undergone surgery on his left shoulder, and forecasts are that he could be out of cricket for up to seven months. If it does happen to be that long, then Lynn will not be returning to a cricket field as anything but a spectator until February 2018. Of course, it may be sooner, but let’s use February 2018 as the yard stick.
If he isn’t going to be able to play until February, then he will not take part in any of the newly labelled JRT Cup, which is the latest naming rights for the domestic one day tournament that is held throughout October each season. It also means that he will be unavailable for the first five Sheffield Shield matches of the season, which all take place before Christmas. As a result, as a contracted player for Queensland, he would in theory be unavailable for at least two-thirds of the season. So Queensland would be signing him up only as a show of good faith, paying him while he rehabilitating on the sidelines. While that would be magnanimous of the QCA, it would mean they would be essentially throwing money down a well.
Given this is the case, could it not be possible that either the QCA approached Lynn, and suggested that they would like to be able to use his spot for another up-and-coming youngster, and give a kid the chance to train and be contracted so that he could spent the next twelve months developing, and hopefully be able to make the next step? Or that Lynn himself suggested this, knowing that if he wanted he could still play the final third of the season if selected, or that he could use the time to prepare himself for the IPL or the PCL, or other such tournaments, secure in the knowledge that in twelve months’ time he could once again take up his contract with the QCA, and make a claim on further national honours when fully fit? Doesn’t this scenario make more sense than a young man who is on the long-term injured list not taking up a state contract so he could be free to play whatever tournaments he wanted to… if he was ever fit again? Surely it does.
The fact that it is very likely that he will almost completely miss the Big Bash League season surely tends to support that argument. Of course I could be wrong, because I have no information one way or the other, but given how long Lynn is likely to be out of the game, surely common sense has prevailed for both himself and the QCA, and both have agreed on a course that is in the best interests of Queensland cricket.