Test v Big Bash: The old and the beautiful

Chris Lynn will captain the Brisbane Heat this summer.
Chris Lynn will captain the Brisbane Heat this summer.

THE split personalities of Australia cricket were clearly on show Monday morning.

At the same moment that Shaun Marsh and Travis Head were trudging to the middle of Adelaide Oval with all the enthusiasm of condemned men, Chris Lynn was bounding up to the rooftop terrace of the Duke Apartments overlooking the Gabba with a big smile on his face.

Marsh and Head dressed in white - the colour of surrender - were facing the unlikely prospect of batting through the fifth day of the first Test against India.

Lynn, looking like a living, breathing, neon sign in his Big Bash uniform, was heralding his appointment as captain of the Brisbane Heat.

The assignment in Adelaide was all about survival, grinding out a draw, somehow keeping the world's number one team from tossing the Aussies aside like a half-eaten vindaloo.

In Brisbane, Lynn's body language spoke all about excitement and action; of getting among the runs and hitting the ball over the fence, if not out of the park.

Shaun Marsh and Travis Head
Shaun Marsh and Travis Head

He referred warmly to the man he is replacing as Heat captain, Brendon McCullum - the other half of the so-called Bash Brothers - from whom he has learnt so much about leadership and hitting the cover off the ball.

"He's the finest leader I've ever played under," Lynn said of the big-hitting Kiwi. "I'll be trying to follow in his footsteps."

Words which will be music to the ears of Lynn's loyal band of followers - and the people whose job it is to sell tickets to cricket in Brisbane.

Media manager for Queensland Cricket Stephen Gray is as big a fan of Lynn as any 12 year-old schoolboy, and why wouldn't he be?

As he puts it: "Having Chris playing in your team is the difference between selling out the day before the game and still having tickets half an hour before the start of play.

"He's the one player in our team that people who don't follow cricket still know. We've got good players in Queensland but they're not known the way Lynny is. There's cricket profile and there's general profile.


"Lynny's more like a Broncos player, or someone like Johnathan Thurston. People might not follow rugby league, but they'll know the name."

Chris Lynn with young fans at a club game. Picture AAP David Clark
Chris Lynn with young fans at a club game. Picture AAP David Clark

And therein you have the problem facing Australian cricket.

The Test in Adelaide wasn't a classic, but it was still a good example of the genre.

Two teams giving their all over five days. The ebb and flow if the game, with batters determined to inhabit the crease for hours on end with survival rather than stroke-play of major importance.

Spin bowlers using guile and cunning ahead of blast and bluster.

And, of course, no one in the Baggy Green even hinting at a sledge or send-off for fear of being deemed uncouth.

For aficionados of Test cricket it was a hark back to the good old days spent transfixed to the battle of bat and ball while sitting on the hill or around the wireless.

For those more accustomed to hours spent playing computer games it was like watching paint dry.

Chris Lynn in full flight for the Brisbane Heat last season. Picture: AAP
Chris Lynn in full flight for the Brisbane Heat last season. Picture: AAP

Lynn isn't on the radar of the Test selectors. He doesn't play their type of cricket, but the type he plays does appeal to a demographic that votes with their feet.

And unlike some of the Test players who seem to be caught between worlds, he is in no two minds about his role.

"It's all about the fans," he says. "They love seeing the ball flying over the fence, and I love doing it for them."

Look at the size of the sparse crowd that sat through the last day of the Adelaide Test. Now check out the chock-full stands at the Gabba tomorrow week when the Heat play the Strikers.

Cricket authorities are known to be worried about how many will turn up to the Gabba for the day-night Test against Sri Lanka starting January 24th.

Here's a tip: Pick Lynny.