Faulkner ponders his options as BBL embargo remains
With Big Bash players unable to officially sign new deals, the left-armer is weighing up whether to look overseas for his next contract
30 June 2021, 06:59 PM AEST
James Faulkner is yet to commit to a return with the Hobart Hurricanes in BBL|11 and may instead target international T20 leagues after his impressive form in the recent Pakistan Super League.
Faulkner was one of several new Australian faces in the PSL after the tournament completed its season in Abu Dhabi earlier this month having initially being shut down in February by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 31-year-old played six games in 10 days for the Lahore Qalanders and his 13 wickets at an economy of 6.50 and 90 lower-order runs from 53 balls that helped keep the Qalanders in the hunt for the finals showed the veteran of 217 T20 matches and 128 one-day games still has plenty to offer in the white-ball format.
But with the KFC BBL clubs still under a contracting embargo and lucrative offers from foreign T20 leagues now on the table, Faulkner is weighing up his options.
"It's something my manager and I will sit down and look at with all the leagues going on around the world," Faulkner told cricket.com.au from the Adelaide hotel where he is midway through his mandatory 14-day quarantine period after the tournament.
"(Joining the T20 circuit) is probably the most realistic thing for me to be doing, I know I'm not going to be playing Test cricket again, or four-day cricket either.
"There's potential for one-day cricket but after having a couple of months off after the last Big Bash, then going into the PSL and playing six games in 10 days and performing reasonably as well, I got a lot of confidence out of that.
"That's probably the angle that I'll go at.
"I've got to weigh up what offers are on the table and map it out."
Faulkner's last BBL action was a late December clash against the Brisbane Heat when he limped off four balls into his second over at the Gabba. He later aggravated the injury at training and was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
With BBL officials yet to finalise plans for a mooted overseas player draft, a league-wide contracting embargo remains in place. While clubs and players can strike verbal agreements, they remain non-binding, and Faulkner admitted the uncertainty was weighing on his mind.
While Faulkner's future is uncertain, Hobart will be comforted by the continued improvement shown by Tim David, who played with Faulkner at the Qalandars.
The pair put on 47 runs in 13 exhilarating balls in one memorable partnership, with David hitting five sixes in his 64 off 36 balls at No.6 on his way to 180 runs in the tournament at a strike rate of 166.66.
"He's got a lot of time," Faulkner said when asked what impressed him the most about David’s campaign.
"He's facing (Wahab) Riaz and some of the quickest bowlers going around on the T20 circuit and he just had so much time. You can't teach that.
"It was a great opportunity for him to play in such a highly-rated league, and that will give him a lot of confidence going into other tournaments, and for his career going forward.
"He's definitely got a lot of talent, it's just now if he can put it together consistently. I'm sure he would have caught the selectors' eyes with a couple of his knocks over there."
With the T20 World Cup now confirmed to be held in the UAE, including the same Abu Dhabi venue where Faulkner played all six matches, his insights on the pitch would be of interest to the Australian brains trust ahead of that tournament.
"It's definitely a new-ball wicket for the bowlers there," Faulkner said.
"Pace-off on any ground works but it was a little bit grippy there.
"You had to really cash in with the new ball on those pitches and take early wickets. If you could do that, the game was in your favour.
"Then at the back end in T20 you can definitely score heavily. Everyone knows that, but in particular on those grounds once the ball gets a bit softer, it just flies away there.
"They're the two things that really stood out."