It has taken just nine matches for James Faulkner to go from an unknown entity to the Rajasthan Royals’ No. 1 bowler in the Pepsi Indian Premier League.
In that time, the young Tasmanian has earned a coveted Ashes call- up, and proven himself to be a canny medium-pacer who can succeed whatever be the conditions.
Faulkner is now hungry for more success.
“Once you get a taste of international cricket, it’s like a bug. You want to keep performing for your country. It’s the same with the IPL. No matter what team I play for, I want to achieve my goals and help the team with its goals,” Faulkner, who has played five ODIs and three T20Is, told MAIL TODAY. With 17 wickets, including the only five- for of the season, Faulkner is right in the mix for the Purple Cap, and credits his preparation, as well as the guidance of captain Rahul Dravid and coach Paddy Upton, for his success.
I was in good condition during the Australian summer, and then I came over five- six days before the IPL to get acclimatised. The weather and pitch conditions are a lot different to what I’m used to back in Australia, but I’ve got the game to adapt to any conditions,” the 23- year- old all-rounder said.
“Rahul has been a very positive influence, and Paddy too has been good for the group.
The vibes in the Rajasthan Royals dressing room are very positive, and that has allowed me to do well.” On his Australian and Royals teammate Shane Watson, Faulkner said: “When Watson is available for batting and bowling, he’s the best player in the world in the short format.
I’m not being biased because I’m from Australia, that’s what the statistics show — he can break a game open with bat or ball. He’s dominated attacks and won matches for the country, as well as for whichever team he’s played for.” Faulkner and the Royals also share another common thread – both have had a close association with Aussie legend Shane Warne.
Also read: Delhi in for an uphill battle
Faulkner plays under Warne for the Big Bash League franchise Melbourne Stars, and said the former Australia leg-spinner has been a great support for his fledgling career.
“He has been a massive support for my cricket over the last two years. I have really got to know him on and off the field. He’s left a great legacy with the Rajasthan Royals, and I’m glad I’m playing where he used to play. His advice to me has always been to back myself, back my game and it has paid dividends,” he said.
Asked who were the batsmen he loved bowling to the most, Faulkner said: “Definitely Chris Gayle, I’m developing a bit of a rivalry with him [after getting him out during the Big Bash]. Also, to get somebody like Tillakaratne Dilshan as my first international wicket in my second T20 game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was probably my favourite moment so far.”