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James Faulkner Answers All Your Questions

15 May 2018

How tough was it to leave the Melbourne Stars after seven years (since BBL01) to ‘come home’ to the Hurricanes?

Look it’s not a decision that you make overnight – it definitely took some time. It’s probably two of the biggest decisions that I’ve had to make in my career so far.

One was leaving Tasmania in BBL01 for the opportunity over there and now to come back home, but I’m sure I’ve made the right decision.

Has it been in the back of your mind for awhile returning home to play for the Hurricanes?

It’s been brought up a fair bit yeah. I think the reason that it has, is because I had spent so much time on the road as well.

I spent four or five years there where I was hardly in Hobart, let alone at my parents’ place for Christmas or birthdays or anything like that, so it does takes its toll.

But over the last six months I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time with them down the east coast with my dad and my sisters and in Launceston with my mum and also with my mates in Hobart.

So I’m excited not only for that, but to play my cricket here and play in front of my friends and family both here in Hobart and in Launceston.

Seeing the success the Hurricanes had last BBL season and some of the guns they’ve got on their list (like D’Arcy Short and Jofra Archer) – did that help sway your decision?

Yeah it was exciting to watch last season and they had a great mixture between senior players and also their youth as well.

And I’ve actually become really close friends with a couple of the younger players in the Tassie squad that are also on the Hurricanes list.

So that was part of the reason as well – not only play some good cricket myself – but I also want to help the young players.

You’ve had a fairly tough 12 months or so with injury, how confident are you that you can get back to your best cricket?

I definitely know I’ve got a lot left in my tank that’s for sure.

It has been frustrating – I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster probably 18 months, where I’ve found myself injured and found myself back in the Australian team, then out of the Australian team.

But look I’m really confident at the moment. I’ve had probably five or six months now where I haven’t really played much cricket at all.

And not only has that given my body some time to rest and recover – I’ve got some strength back in my legs – but also mentally as well, which is hugely important when it comes to any sport let alone cricket.

Are you on top of that knee injury now – do you think it’s behind you?

Look I’m always going to have to be conscious of it. It’s not something that’s going to go away but there’s certain things that I can do to support the knee and the injury.

A lot of that comes down to the rehab and how much I want to improve it as well.

So I’m confident at the moment. I’m feeling as fresh and as good as what I have for a very long time but that counts for nothing unless I can get some performances on the board.

Was it tough watching the Tigers go through to the Shield Final while you were stuck playing club cricket at the back end of the season?

I didn’t feel I was stuck. I think I just couldn’t get through Shield cricket at that stage.

But I did look at it as a very exciting time for Tasmanian cricket after the two seasons before that where we did struggle.

To see the youth come through – young players bowling 140 (km/hr), players getting hundreds again, and the big factor was winning.

I loved seeing the smiles on the group walking to the change rooms at the end of Day Four.

After seeing the misery and the sadness, to all of a sudden see excitement was fantastic.

Is four-day cricket in your plan as well for next season?

I’ve never ruled anything out. At the moment it’s just about getting some back-to-back cricket into my body again.

Look you ‘never say never’ but at the moment I’m obviously going to Lancashire for two months (to play some T20 cricket) and then I come back and get ready for the Big Bash.

So I’d definitely love to chuck on the ‘baggy green’ again for Tasmania but time will soon tell.

You’re contracted by both the Tasmanian Tigers and now the Hurricanes – does that help you feel more settled this year as a Tasmanian?

Yeah I’m probably more settled than what I have been. I get to live in Hobart. I get to live in my apartment.

Like I said, be with family and friends. But I also get to work with the same coaching staff for 12 months of the year.

So if I’m off playing other tournaments I can always come back here and work on my skill and make sure I’m improving which is the main thing.

I want to keep evolving as a player. Like I briefly touched on, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give in the game. Not only with my output as a player but for the younger players.

How does it feel wearing that purple for the first time?

I’d like to upsize to a large (laughing). No, it feels different, it’s going to take some time.

Like any new team you walk into it’s a different environment, different culture and different players that I haven’t experienced playing alongside before.

You can get very set in your ways, like with the Stars, I was there for seven years which was fantastic and gave me a great opportunity at the start of my career.

But like I said, I’m excited to join the Hurricanes and get better as a player and I suppose as a mentor for the younger players.

Are you looking forward to that first game against the Stars?

What round is it do you know? (Laughing) <NB: The BBL08 Draw will not be released until July>

Yeah definitely – it’s always good coming up against old teams but it will be like any other fixture for me. I wouldn’t be too fussed about it.

Is Tigers Head Coach and Hurricanes Assistant Coach Adam Griffith a great benefit to you being a former Australian fast bowler himself?

Yeah I’ve always had a great relationship with ‘Griff’ – he’s very technical and he can see different flaws in your action at certain times as well.

So I’ve done a lot of work with him over the last 12 months since he’s come down and I’m slowly seeing improvements.

So hopefully it just keeps growing and I can evolve as a bowler. But it’s not only Griffo but Vaughany (Tigers Senior Assistant Coach Jeff Vaughan) as well has been fantastic for our batting group.

And the numbers suggest that with our young players in four-day cricket – and all formats really.

Have you spoken with Hurricanes Head Coach Gary Kirsten yet?

No I haven’t spoken to him at all. I saw him last year in Perth and he sent me a message after that when he got home.

So I’m looking forward to working with him and all the other coaching staff as well. And hopefully we go one step further and win the BBL title.

Finally, when did you really think seriously about coming home for the BBL?

Probably about five to six months ago I started to think about it seriously.

There’s always been ‘rumours’ and players have stopped me here or there and asked me: When are you going to come home? When are you going to do this?

But I’ve always looked at it this way, when I’m under contract with a team, I’m 100% committed to that team.

So it wasn’t until probably the end of this season where I sat back and I looked at – not only how I performed – but where I was going and the direction I wanted to go as a player.

I felt like I wasn’t performing as well as what I would have liked. Whether that was due to injury or not – and that’s not an excuse.

But I thought maybe a change would refresh me as a player – mentally and physically – and I could be here for 12 months a year.