Australia’s big-hitting top-order batsman Chris Lynn suffered an unprecedented injury setback while playing in the Trans-Tasman T20 tri-series final against New Zealand on Wednesday (February 21). Lynn was fielding at mid-wicket when he dived to his left to stop a Ross Taylor-shot in the 9th over of New Zealand’s innings and ended up dislocating his problematic shoulder in the process. If there is any chance that Lynn will miss the soon-approaching IPL 2018, we look at 5 players that could replace him in Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
The maverick batsman has had a lot of shoulder trouble in the recent past and did not come out to bat during Australia’s successful run-chase. Lynn was surrounded by team physios and trainers while he left the Eden Park in Auckland during New Zealand’s innings. Cricket Australia posted the development on their Twitter handle, and wrote,
“Chris Lynn leaves field with shoulder injury after diving attempt in tri-series final.”
Chris Lynn’s KKR campaign for IPL 2018 in danger
Lynn’s latest injury also comes as a setback to the Kolkata Knight Riders who shelled out a whopping INR 9.6 crores to secure his services for the upcoming edition of the IPL. While it is almost certain that the 27-year-old Queenslander will have to sit out of the Pakistan Super League this year, his recovery process will decide if Lynn can take the field for KKR come the IPL in April.
The KKR think-tank might have to seek an able and timely replacement if Lynn is indeed forced to miss the upcoming IPL season. Here, we list down five players who can possibly replace Chris Lynn in the KKR setup:
1. Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
Considering his overall T20 record and affter ending the recently concluded Trans-Tasman tri-series as the highest run-getter, Martin Guptill will certainly be high on the Kolkata Knight Riders’ radar if they are indeed forced to pursue a replacement for Chris Lynn. The veteran Kiwi opener is the man with most T20I career runs behind his name and also has plenty of past IPL experience with Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. Guptill might not possess Lynn’s ability to hit the top gear from ball one but once set, he can be equally destructive.
2. Alex Hales (England)
Another strong candidate to replace Chris Lynn can be the maverick England opener Alex Hales. Despite not having any past IPL record, Hales is a proven limited-overs performer and gets all the more dangerous in the T20 format. The Nottinghamshire-batsman can often be seen smacking the ball a long way in the powerplay overs for England and his domestic T20 franchises across various leagues in the world. What might go against Hales getting the nod for KKR is the fact that he hasn’t been in great touch of late and only managed 73 runs in the Trans-Tasman T20 tri-series.
3. Hashim Amla (South Africa)
That Hashim Amla went unsold at the mega IPL auction this year came as a surprise to many cricketing pundits and rightly so. The stylish South African has a great track record in the tournament and was one of the success stories of an otherwise disappointing season for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2017. Amla’s IPL numbers read 577 runs in 16 matches, at an average of 44.38 and a strike rate of 141.76 – not to forget his two centuries and three half-centuries this time. If Chris Lynn is ruled out due to his latest injury, the Kolkata Knight Riders will do well to consider the veteran Proteas batsman as a replacement player ahead of IPL 2018.
4. Heinrich Klaasen (South Africa)
Originally not a part of the mega auction in IPL last month, Heinrich Klaasen has entered the fray as a replacement player for many IPL franchises purely on the basis of his form in the limited-overs leg of India’s ongoing tour to South Africa. Drafted in as a cover for the injured Quinton de Kock, Klaasen has certainly looked the part at the international stage and has been instrumental in the Proteas two wins after the Test series. The 26-year-old is a clean-hitting, wicketkeeper batsman and showed his mettle when he took the wily Yuzvendra Chahal to the cleaners in the second match of the T20I series. Klaasen could be a dark horse in this race to replace Lynn at KKR.
5. Eoin Morgan (England)
Another player who surprisingly found no takers at the recent auction was England’s white-ball captain Eoin Moran. The man credited with changing the DNA of English limited-overs cricket, Morgan is a vastly experienced T20 cricketer and can walk into any IPL team based on his proven track record and leadership abilities. Morgan is renowned for his ability to rotate the strike in the middle-overs and is a solid finisher in the death overs. He is also one of few batsmen noted as being a skillful player of the reverse sweep. The former Ireland-batsman will certainly be one of the contenders to replace Chris Lynn at KKR given the fact that he has also played for the franchise before.