This Game-Changer Is Back In The Mix
Pace-up Faulkner looks forward to the great India-Australia rivalry
Launceston is a rather sleepy town in the serene Tasmania. James Faulkner hails from that part of the world but makes a lot more noise… in the cricketing arena.
When in the mood, he can cause havoc with his explosive hits and stinging toe-crushers. An ‘impact’ player, he propels the ball a long way with his right-handed blows or sends the stumps flying with a left-arm swing at the death.
But then, the last few months have been like a bad dream for the 27-year-old Faulkner. A key man in Australia’s ODI scheme of things, he saw himself being left out of the squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.
But then, multi-dimensional cricketers such as Faulkner are too precious to be ignored for long. Recalled for the limited-over series in India, the all-rounder is here picking up the pieces.
The man might appear a tad laconic but does play his cricket with plenty of intensity. He agreed that he was coming back from a tough phase. “Anytime you miss out, it’s hard. But I am back and it’s a good opportunity for me. Good to be back in the mix, I have been battling. At the end of the day, it’s about how you work your way back.”
Faulkner has made a difference during the India-Australia games in the past and his cameo with the willow and crucial strikes with the ball did play their role in Australia’s famous win over India in the ICC 2015 World Cup semi-final at the SCG.
He spoke about the India-Australia duels. “It’s always a great rivalry between India and Australia and looking forward to it. There is a lot of experience in our ranks of playing in these conditions because of the IPL.”
His numbers from 67 ODIs are impressive — 988 runs at 34.06 and 95 wickets at 30.08. And he often does the job in the demanding end overs when the pressures can be extreme.
Cricketers evolve, both technically and in their training routines, and Faulkner said, “My fitness regimen has changed. I spent a lot of time on the park, focused on running and gym sessions.”
Asked about the feedback from the team-management and the selectors for the reasons for his omission, Faulkner responded, “It was about my pace, they said my pace had dropped down a bit and I had to work on my variations.”
This, perhaps, explained the time he has spent pumping iron and getting stronger — he needed to up his speed which would also make his variations more compelling.
There is this X-factor about Faulkner. You never quite know what you are going to get. These game-changers are a rare breed.