Former Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn, the highest run-scorer in the Big Bash League’s history, has signed for the Adelaide Strikers after agreeing to an unprecedented deal with Cricket Australia.
Lynn will be available for 11 of the Strikers’ 14 home and away fixtures this summer after reaching a compromise with CA that allowed him to compete in a high-paying overseas domestic league during the BBL window.
After the Heat elected not to renew his $200,000 contract earlier this year, Lynn signed for the United Arab Emirates’ newly-founded International League T20, which reportedly offered players up to $650,000 for five weeks’ work.
The Queenslander was unveiled as one of UAE competition’s 21 marquee recruits, casting doubt over whether he would participate in this summer’s Big Bash League.
But despite not holding a CA or state contract since 2019, Lynn is required under the ICC’s guidelines to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the home board, who needed to give him clearance to play overseas during the home summer.
As part of the landmark deal with CA, Lynn will miss the opening matches of the Gulf Giants’ season, which gets underway on January 6, copping a substantial financial windfall in the process.
Lynn has been permitted to join the ILT20 from January 20; his final Strikers match before jetting out of the country will be against his former club Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on January 14.
The 32-year-old will be one of many high-profile Big Bash cricketers to travel overseas midway through the tournament to join the ILT20 or South Africa’s privately-owned domestic competition.
However, several of these players will be replaced by Australian Test stars, such as Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey, following the highly-anticipated New Year’s Test against South Africa.
He was not only one of the Heat’s foundation players, winning a BBL title with the Brisbane-based club in 2013, but also served as captain for several years.
The Heat effectively sacked Lynn after his underwhelming 2021/22 campaign, where he registered 215 runs in 12 matches at 17.91.
But the powerful right-hander has been in impeccable form this winter, recently smacking an unbeaten 113 from 57 balls in the T20 Blast to equal his highest individual score and set up a Northamptonshire victory.
“He is a proven matchwinner, an experienced leader, and a great character to have around the group.
“His record speaks for itself. We’re thrilled to have him and know he can play an important role for us this summer.”
CA is desperate to revive interest in the T20 competition, which struggled to capture the public’s attention last season, ahead of the broadcast rights negotiations.
Earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph revealed that free-to-air broadcaster Channel 7 had launched Federal Court action against CA in a bid to terminate its TV rights deal.
According to the News Corp report, Seven is adamant the cricketers that featured in last summer’s BBL were not of a high enough quality for the competition to meet the standard provisions stipulated in CA’s TV rights contract.
However, the Big Bash has already secured the services of former South African captain Faf du Plessis, New Zealander paceman Trent Boult and Australian superstar David Warner for this summer’s tournament.
Adelaide will look to bolster its squad at Sunday’s inaugural BBL Draft, where the club will be hoping to retain Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan.
“Most of the players that are in that platinum range are only available for eight or nine games because they’re off to either South Africa or the UAE,” Strikers performance analyst Jarrod Harkness told cricket.com.au this week.
“So basically, if you are going to take a platinum level player, then you’re looking at someone who is only going to be here for the first half of the tournament.
“So given those other high-quality players are only here for half the tournament, the same as Rash, he’s someone that we would be very keen to have here again.”
The Strikers’ season gets underway at Adelaide Oval on December 14, facing the Sydney Sixers.