Cricket Tasmania Chief Executive Nick Cummins discusses new Hurricanes signing James Faulkner and extracting him from the Stars, the unwanted departure of Dan Christian, BBL players ‘going home’, the Hurricanes Squad heading into BBL08 and the future of Tymal Mills in purple…
I’m really pleased for this news to announce in the lead-up to BBL08 the signing of James Faulkner.
We’ve been talking to James for some time and after seven seasons at the Melbourne Stars he’s decided to come home which is a fantastic result for the Hurricanes Club.
He was a foundation member of the Melbourne Stars and played 47 games for them.
He would have played more had he not been playing for Australia in predominantly the One-Day format.
He’ll be a fantastic addition for the club from his batting and his bowling perspective and we’re really looking forward to having him join us next season.
How did this opportunity arise? Did Dan Christian leave first so you needed a replacement or the other way around?
They were really concurrent. So from Dan’s perspective, he’d expressed a desire during the season to go back to Victoria.
He was aware that his State cricket career was coming to an end and could see going forward that he was going to be playing a lot more T20 around the world.
And I think from a family perspective he was pretty keen to be based in Melbourne, which is a great shame because Dan (A) is a terrific cricketer and (B) is a terrific guy.
So that was a big loss for the club.
Concurrently we were talking to James about coming back to Tasmania. I think we’d had a lot of traction over the last 12 months with the new coaching group in terms of his cricket who’d got him back into the Australian team as well.
And so we really felt, from our side at least, he’d add a lot to the team but also that we could work with him with the continuity of 12 months a year and get him back to playing for Australia, playing IPL hopefully and also winning games for the Hobart Hurricanes.
What will it mean having James contracted to both the Hurricanes and Tassie Tigers as well?
From Tigers Head Coach and Hurricanes Assistant Coach Adam Griffith’s perspective and from Hurricanes Head Coach Gary Kirsten’s perspective, having that continuity of staying in Tasmania is the key.
We can work with James around the various formats so that he can achieve everything he wants to out of his career, and at the same time, be working for Tasmanian Cricket the whole year.
So effectively we’re not training him up to go and flog us when he plays for the Melbourne Stars. He’s actually going to be winning games for us in Tasmania.
And I think from our side, you know, the key with really good all-rounders is that you’re getting two players for the price of one.
A lot of our success last season and indeed those teams that are successful, are when those all-rounders are fit and firing.
Was it difficult negotiating for James with the Melbourne Stars as he had one year to go on his contract?
Yes it was, but we’ve got a really good relationship with the Melbourne Stars CEO Clint Cooper and I’ve worked with him for a long time and he’s a good guy.
I think from their side they were probably looking to try and refresh their list as well and make some room under their salary cap.
So they were really good to work with but they didn’t want James to go. He’s been a very popular player for a long time with them and very well liked within the club.
But at the same time, they’ve got their own pressures as well.
Do you think we will see more players going back to their home states to play their BBL cricket?
It’s a good question. I think the Perth Scorchers are probably the model that people are looking at and saying: How important is it to be able to work with players 12 months a year.
So I think that will happen to an extent. <NB: The Perth Scorchers BBL and Western Warriors State Squads feature almost identical playing rosters.>
But the reality is, with two Melbourne teams and two Sydney teams – those teams are always going to have to try and source players elsewhere because they don’t have 36 contracted players within their state.
For us Beau Webster and Jordan Silk are two players that are playing interstate in the Big Bash so we’d love to get them back and we will at some stage.
But ultimately for us, we want to have that continuity.
There have been suggestions from Melbourne and Sydney that Associations are bumping up State contracts and lessening BBL contracts to get their ‘bigger name’ players back home. Is that a fair allegation?
No I don’t think it’s a fair allegation. The money on both sides of those contracts is visible to Cricket Australia.
They’ve got full visibility of that and if they see anything that’s untoward then they can act on that straight away.
I think the challenge – and having been at Sydney Thunder – is that you can’t work with your players 12 months a year – that’s a reality.
But that’s not through conspiring of State Associations and BBL Clubs.
How’s the rest of the Hurricanes BBL Squad List coming together?
Look there’s not a lot of changes. There’s a couple of guys that we’ll announce a bit later on in terms of upgrades.
And one other player that I think will really add value to the team as well.
And we’ve got one spot spare that we’ll just spend probably at the start of the JLT One-Day State Cup Series just having a look at a few different options.
But it’s coming together. I mean we were really happy with how the men’s team finished last season.
As I said, Dan is a loss, but I think James more than covers his departure.
So we think we’ll be right amongst it and with an expanded season – a full home (7) and away (7) 14-game fixture where we play each club twice – the depth of squads is going to be tested.
Tymal Mills has still got another year to go on his two-year contract and he didn’t play in the Finals Series for the Hurricanes. You said you will evaluate his form during the off-season. Is he a ‘lock’ for BBL08?
Well no-one’s a ‘lock’ including James, you’ve got to be in form and you’ve got to be in the best eleven as the coach sees it at the time.
We’ve spent some time with Tymal in the off-season talking to him about preparation going into next season. And so he needs to arrive and be performing well.
I think he did really well in the Pakistan Super League over in the UAE. I was over there and saw him playing a couple of games and he did well.
I think the main thing for him – by his own admission – is just working out the right lengths to bowl in Australia. I think he executed his slow ball really well.
It’s just that his standard ball didn’t quite get the right length. And he’s admitted that and he knows that he has to improve on a few different areas.
But you know, we’ve got to look at the season holistically. We won games and we got to the Finals which was great.
We lost some and we didn’t lose them because of Tymal. We didn’t win them because of Tymal.
We won and lost them as a group and we need to look at ourselves collectively rather than at one individual player. But he’s definitely coming back.