By Chris Lynn
In under 12s, I was skipper of the Queensland rugby league and cricket teams. Andrew McCullough, the current Broncos hooker, was in that league team and we’re still good mates.
I hang out more with the rugby league boys. We have mutual interests, love a beer, love a punt, the timing as well - you train in the morning and you’re done by lunch.
They’re good people to be around - they’ve got a bit of mongrel about them and they make you laugh. I learn a lot from those guys.
I was fortunate enough to be in the State of Origin sheds after game one. It was weird because I knew everyone. Ben Hunt was in that under 12s team and there are probably seven or eight NRL boys .
I was a cheeky little halfback, stood next to the big second rower. I really liked Joey Johns, Darren Lockyer. The way they read the game was next level.
It’s not just about size and strength. You look at Alfie Langer, a bit like Cameron Smith now. He has to get two or three steps ahead of the play because he’s not as big and fast as the other blokes.
My old man taught me about discipline, being a swimmer. Getting up at 5am every morning. It was freezing, even in Brisbane. Discipline was huge.
I never wanted to just play one sport, and I’m not a big figure, but that’s why I can hit the ball further than most guys now. When you go to the gym you max out once every six or eight weeks. When you’re a footballer you’re maxing out every time you make a tackle.
That’s why I reckon my core strength is strong than guys who have just played cricket coming through.
I say to kids I’m coaching now, ‘you’re not going to play cricket for Australia at 16. Don’t sell yourself short, get stronger in other areas because that will improve your skill at cricket’. Swimming, rugby league, AFL - the sports I played as a junior - helped me hit the ball harder than ever.
I had two years with the Broncos in juniors. I had a knee recon in the first year so that was a setback. And when you get between 15 and 17 the growth of some boys is next level.
I was just thinking ‘s*** I’m sick of hitting blokes at 140kg – I’d rather hit blokes for six who are bowling 140kph’.
I always loved rugby league but deep down I can’t say I would have made it. You never know but you make decisions for a reason and you own those decisions. I never had second thoughts.
It didn’t matter how big they were or fast they bowled I could still whack it back over their head for six. In footy a bloke who’s 120kg runs at you he’s not stopping. He’s running at you again and again.
I’m all or nothing. I love going fast. I do everything 100 miles an hour and that’s been something instilled in me from an early age and I guess moulded me as a cricketer and a person. I’m 29 so I don’t think I’m going to change my blueprint.
The last couple of years in Sheffield Shield, time on feet was a big thing for me. My body wasn’t holding up to where I wanted it to be. There was an initiative from CA to have wickets prepared flat, so every game there were 500s scored in an innings. Not the kind of cricket I wanted to play.
You are in the field a day and a half minimum. I didn’t like that. The way franchise cricket was opening up around the world, I thought here’s a pathway someone has never taken before so I’m going to start my own trail and go at it.
I knew I was going to cop a bit of flak here and there and Cricket Australia weren’t too happy. But I made my decision and I’m going to own the decisions I’ve made. The moment you doubt yourself and back pedal, that’s the moment you start looking a bit silly.
I missed Andrew Symonds by a year at Queensland. Just missed Jimmy Maher. Just missed Andy Bichel, Kasper… if I’m honest, Queensland cricket lost a bit of character with them when they left.
I’m trying to bring that back to the younger boys now. I’m not in and around the Queensland Bulls a helluva lot but can implement that through the Brisbane Heat.
Get out, go have a beer, interact with the public. Go to a Broncos or Lions game, don’t be a homebody just because you’re a professional athlete. There’s a time and place you can go out and enjoy yourself if you’re still putting in the hard work. I think Queensland cricket, in the last five years or so, we’ve lost that.
I love going out having a beer, but as long as I’m working my arse off there shouldn’t be an issue.
It had been a focus of mine to play at the World Cup that just finished, which is why I played the JLT season. I had a good season, but then I didn’t quite manage to put the runs on the board in the one dayers against South Africa, so I was a little bit disappointed with that.
I’m certainly not disappointed or angry or bitter about not playing the World Cup at all or being dropped. I didn’t put the runs on the board.
To play for Australia is a bonus. After I smacked them for a few years in the Big Bash and then didn’t make the T20 squad for the last World Cup people were blowing up and I said ‘it doesn’t matter’.
I get to play for Brisbane Heat, still get to go to the Caribbean Premier League, do all these awesome things. I do care but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
With the T20 WC coming up again next year it’s a goal of mine but if I don’t get picked I’ve got a cool life the way it is, still got my family and friends around me.
It’s what I’ve always known and didn’t know much else. I love the challenge of getting back up off the canvas and keep trying to throw the punches. It’s something that burns inside me and I’ve got unfinished business as well.
The best feeling in the world is walking out to bat at the Gabba and I don’t want that to end. I’m still here and I want to be here for a while.