Time Tuesday Jun 08 2021

PSL 2021: UAE heat a 'shock to the body' but Australia's Faulkner excited to play with Pakistan talent

Australian all-rounder James Faulkner. — Photo provided by author

KARACHI: Australian all-rounder James Faulkner says he is excited to be part of Pakistan Super League and representing Lahore Qalandars for the remainders of Pakistan Super League matches.

In an exclusive interview to Geo News, the 31-year-old all rounder said that coming from middle of winter to extreme hot weather of UAE was very hard for him. Nevertheless, the world cup winner said that he was looking forward to “do the best” for his team in the remainders of PSL.

“It is the first time I’m involved in the PSL. So, I'm excited to join the Lahore Qalandars and play my role, whatever that will be for the team. I am excited to play amongst the best Pakistan talent on show, both the senior and the junior players. So, I'm excited for the kickoff,” he said ahead of Qalandars’ game against Islamabad United.

“I think it's up there with in the top two or three competitions in the world. You’ve got the IPL. You've got the Big Bash and then you’ve got the PSL. I think that they're the three big ones. And, I'm just excited to start the competition and find momentum for the team and contribute,” said Faulkner, who was the man of the match for Australia in the 2015 World Cup final.

The all-rounder said that his role with Lahore Qalandars will not be different from what it has been with other teams and he’s looking forward to start with a new ball in power play and then offer some variation in middle overs.

“It's just a matter of executing the skill and trying to do the best I can for the team,” he said.

He also hailed Lahore Qalandars’ Player Development Program saying that such a talent-hunt project is good for the entire cricket fraternity.

“The amount of players and young talent that had the opportunity to go through the player development programme and to have an eye on them and see the skills that they've got and give them an opportunity to have a crack at their dream of playing cricket, I think it's fantastic.

"This is fantastic for not only the players or the franchise but for everyone in the cricket community. It's brilliant,” he said.

Replying to a question about strength of Lahore Qalandars, the Australian cricketer said that having a player like Rashid Khan in the ranks is a “massive bonus” for the Qalandars’ side that is aiming to win the first PSL title.

“I'm still sort of learning about them as I'm watching them at training and facing them. So yeah, look, it's an exciting listing. I think all the teams have got some very good fast bowlers. We've obviously got Rashid, which is a massive bonus for us and our batting is also very strong.

So, I'm not going to single anyone out. I think we've got some really good young talent at the moment that I'm excited to watch,” he said.

Faulkner, who last played for Australia in 2017, agreed that the UAE weather will be a challenge and to come from a cold weather to hot weather was something very hard for him.

“I won't hide away from the fact that it's probably the hardest I've ever experienced, coming from the middle of winter back home where it's only five or six degrees to mid 40s here it's definitely a big shock to your system, it's definitely a shock to your body, but yeah, everyone has acclimatised,” he added.

The Australian cricketer said he hasn’t seen much of bubble and quarantine life but agreed that it is definitely going to take a toll on the players.

Replying to another question, Faulkner said that he is ready to visit Pakistan whenever the tournament goes back to its homeland.

“If the competition is in Pakistan, then I've got no issue coming to Pakistan at all to play and perform. So, hopefully next year, it's back in Pakistan and more importantly, that we can get on top of the pandemic because that's the hardest thing in the moment for everyone in world crickets," the Australian all-rounder said.


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