CHRIS Lynn is just 22 but his career trajectory already closely resembles that of a rollercoaster.
Two summers ago, the dashing Queensland batsman struck 641 Sheffield Shield runs at an average of 53.42. New Bulls coach Darren Lehmann was convinced he was a player of special talent, prompting national selectors to choose him for the winter Australia A tour of Zimbabwe despite him not being part of a preliminary squad of 24.
He missed the tour with a broken finger. Six of the inexperienced players who did tour have since made their Test debut: Trent Copeland, Mitch Starc, Michael Beer, Nathan Lyon, David Warner and the player brought in for Lynn, Matthew Wade.
Last season, Lynn was awful, scoring an astonishing - for a specialist batsman - seven ducks across the four-day and one-day formats to finish his second full first-class season with an average of under 20. His form was so bad that he is yet to play another shield game, prompting his slip from the ''next big thing'' category in favour of the likes of Queensland teammate and close friend Joe Burns.
The past month has brought some overdue good news for Lynn, and his fans. His once-again robust batting form for Brisbane Heat saw him not only named the BBL's Young Player of the Year but also finish in the top six, alongside superstars such as Lasith Malinga and Ricky Ponting. It also helped the Heat to make a successful late surge to progress to the BBL final, played in Perth on Saturday night.
''My confidence is obviously pretty good at the moment. The team's going well and when you're riding that wave your confidence is obviously pretty high,'' he said this week as the Heat overcame the Renegades on their visit to Melbourne to seal Champions League qualification.
As Lynn's career returns to an upward trajectory he is determined to not allow that confidence morph into arrogance or complacency, which he now admits may have infected him after his dazzling first full season in 2010-11, which included two big centuries and also a 99.
''Coming in at 19 I thought 'How good is this?', scoring runs and thinking you can never get dropped. Obviously you do [eventually] get that reality check,'' he said.
''Obviously it was looking bright, but when you look at the records when 'Haydos' [Matthew Hayden] and those type of blokes scored runs they scored back-to-back 900-run seasons.
''It was never going to be easy. A lot of players have scored one-off 800 or 900-run seasons and never kicked on. I didn't really want to be one of them, but as it turned out I had a poor year last year.
''[The year before] I felt there was no pressure on me. I was that new player and had no expectations on me to score runs, I just went out and batted freely. In the second year there was a bit more pressure on weight on my shoulders. I guess I just didn't handle it that well.
''You can probably put it down to complacency, too confident, probably a whole list of things like that.''
While Shane Watson is a contemporary example of a player who struggles to kick on from a solid start, Lynn's problem is generally the opposite in that, if he is able to survive for more than half an hour, he generally makes a big score. He knows it, too, and while he is desperate to rectify that weakness he is also desperate for more instances where he survives that first half-hour or so, so he can prosper.
''You only get limited opportunities when you have a good day, so when you get to 10 or 20 you've got to make the most of it. That's the hardest thing for me, getting to those scores,'' he said.
''It's probably easier in your first [full] year because no one knows who you are and what your strengths are, whereas in your second year they watch footage from all around Australia and know where to bowl to you. For me to come back from that and throw a punch back at them, that's the [challenge of the] game of cricket.
''I think I'm playing good cricket now and am hopefully pushing for a spot in the red-ball game. The hardest thing now is getting back into the side. I think once I'm in I reckon I'll be OK.
''My attitude's great, I'm as keen as ever. I just want to keep applying myself and doing well for the team.''
Lynn's regular early dismissals last season could theoretically be a symptom of a player who places too low a price on his wicket and is not sufficiently concerned about how the team fares. The reality could hardly be further from that. The aggressive right-hander said his attitude is that, while he loves winning, ''I hate losing more than I love winning''.
''At the end of the day it's just a game but I'm [habitually] disappointed. It's just like anyone having a really bad day at work. You don't want to talk to anyone, but the sun comes up tomorrow and you move on,'' he said.