Fresh Faulkner’s not finished
James Faulkner fronts for Hobart on Monday night without the scars of its 2017-18 BBL final loss to Adelaide but "sick" of talking about his wilderness years since Australia's World Cup triumph.
Faulkner's slide from white ball eminence has coincided with Australia's deterioration since its 2015 World Cup final win where the "Finisher" (3/36) starred against New Zealand in Melbourne.
Australia hasn't won a one-day series for two years and dispensed with the key allrounder for the bulk of that barren period.
The pain and frustration of a debilitating knee injury that cost Faulkner a national contract and representation was finally replaced by joy at smashing the Hurricanes to a final over victory against Perth Scorchers on Friday night.
"I was a bit rusty the first few balls as I hadn't really been in the middle. I had to reset myself and backed what I practice for," said Faulkner (28 not out) who cracked 16 off Andrew Tye's last over having taken 3/36 at OPTUS Stadium.
Faulkner's undefeated 69 and 57-run, last wicket stand with Clint McKay delivered a famous one wicket win against England at the Gabba four years ago. Ensuing seasons haven't been kind until Hobart's surge to BBL's top perch this summer.
"I have had an interesting three or four years and probably a bit sick of talking about it to be honest," Faulkner said.
Faulkner tore a calf after guiding Lancashire to the T20 Blast semi-finals in September.
"I had a good run in England, got injured before the JLT and that fixture being what it is, it is hard to play any sort of cricket," he said.
"It is good to be in the middle and enjoying cricket as much as I have for three or four years and that is the main thing and we are playing well as a team. It's a fresh start."
D'Arcy Short returns to Adelaide Oval as leading BBL run scorer with 368 at 52 while George Bailey is averaging 60. Last year's BBL final loss hurt but Hobart has moved on.
"If we can win three or four of the last six games we will host a final which is huge. That is what we are concentrating on," said Tassal Salmon fanzone ambassador Faulkner.
Faulkner says hopes of a 2019 World Cup recall 'isn't something I am thinking about' but conceded the Hurricanes were surprised to retain the services of Short and prolific Matt Wade.
"He has been on fire," said Faulkner of Wade.
"It has been a bit of a surprise to our group that we haven't lost one or two players but on the flip side it is an added bonus have a settled team. D'Arcy is such a clean striker of the ball."
Adelaide loses skipper and Australian batsman Travis Head but regains Billy Stanlake and keeper-batsman Alex Carey from one-day duty.
Strikers leg-spinner Rashid Khan is the No.1 threat for Faulkner.
"He is a superstar," said Faulkner who played with Rashid at T20 franchise Maratha Arabians last month.
"He is hard to pick, different as he is so fast."