Australia all-rounder James Faulkner, who makes a return to the his national side during the limited-overs series against India, has his sights set on moving past a “tough” phase in the recent past.
Faulkner did not feature in Australia’s limited-overs plans since February this year and was left out of Cricket Australia’s 20-man list of centrally contracted cricketers.
Explaining his rejuvenation process and coping with being dropped, the 27-year-old said that the break gave him enough time to recuperate from a long-standing knee injury, “Anytime you miss out on selection, it is tough,” Faulkner was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“I have a good chance now. I had four months away from the game. I had bit of pre-season which has been nice, a bit of time in my own bed, and to get strong and fit again. I have been battling – to be honest – probably the last 18 months, so it’s been nice to be home with my team-mates in Tassie [Tasmania] and hit the gym hard. Just physically with my knee and the state it has been in. It is as good as it’s been at the moment, so I’m pretty happy.”
Change in routine
The 2013 bilateral series in India was a breakthrough of sorts in many ways for the Faulkner. His breathtaking assault against Ishant Sharma and Co at Mohali, taking his side to an improbable win, saw the world hail him as one of the finest lower-order finishers going around.
The left-armer nailed down a permanent spot in the Australian team, and steered them to their fifth World Cup crown. Faulkner was the Man-of-the-Match in the final at Melbourne. The Tasmanian talked about how he coped with being away from his teammates, and his new training regimen, “My training definitely changed. I spent a lot of time on the bike; I haven’t spent any time running other than fielding and while bowling in the nets.
Have been doing different exercises in the gym, there are certain exercises I can’t do but there is a lot I still can. It was pretty tough. I think if you ask any player when you get left out it is not great fun.
After a while you are friends and family with your team-mates as well. At the end of the day it is up to you to be back; I am excited to back in the group. I don’t really want to talk about the past. It’s about this series coming up and a good opportunity against very good opposition in their own country.”
Faulkner has a colourful history with the Indians, be it pulling off the aforementioned near-impossible win or indulging in some verbal banter with Virat Kohli on the field.
While acknowledging the hosts’ rich vein of form from their Sri Lanka tour, Faulkner drew on a vast majority of his teammates to get used to Indian conditions having played several years of Indian Premier League, “There’s a lot of experience in that changing room playing in the subcontinent.
Most of the boys have played enough here with the IPL and other series and the T20 World Cup. [India] have played a lot of one-day cricket of late. They are in really good nick right now. It is going to be a test and we’re excited for it.”
India and Australia kick-start the five-match One-Day International series in Chennai on Sunday.