Faulkner: "I didn't want to play anywhere else"
Australian all-rounder looking forward to Lancashire return
James Faulkner is preparing to return to Lancashire for this summer's T20 Blast and has admitted: "I didn't want to play anywhere else."
The dynamic Australian all-rounder was a leading light as the Red Rose won the Blast in 2015, taking 25 wickets and scoring 302 runs with one fifty. His wicket haul was the joint best in the entire competition alongside Stephen Parry.
Faulkner, 27, was signed to play last year before being pulled out by Cricket Australia with a knee injury, which he is still managing when it comes to playing four-day cricket.
However, the path is now clear for him to return to Emirates Old Trafford, and he has signed a two-year T20 deal.
"I'm really excited to be coming back to Lancs," said Faulkner. "I had an absolute ball when I was there in 2015. It was topped off by us playing some good four-day cricket - we finished second in Division Two and went up - and winning the T20 Blast.
"That was a really great memory, and it was done with a great group of blokes. That was one of the main draw cards for me coming back.
"I obviously signed for last year and got pulled out, which was disappointing, and a lot's changed since I was last there.
"Chappie is running the ship now instead of Gilo, but I'm sure it will be pretty similar. I know I'll be playing the same role as what I played last time, and hopefully we can win it again. It's good to be back.
"I didn't want to play anywhere else because I had so much fun.
"Why go somewhere else where maybe you're a bit unsure of your role and your position and you have to start fresh?
"I've definitely followed the scores since I left. It was hard to watch many games with the time zones, but I definitely followed how we've been going.
"The team have had their challenges over the last couple of years, but that's T20 cricket - it's a rollercoaster.
"You try and be as consistent as you can, and hopefully this year and next I can have an input in that by playing some good cricket.
"I'm really excited to be there for two years before the new rules come out with the city cricket.
"That starts in 2020, so having two seasons back to back with the club is great and having a real crack at trying to win it again. I wanted to show my commitment that I wasn't just going to be there for a year and go somewhere else."
Faulkner is currently wrapping up his Big Bash commitments with Melbourne Stars.
Currently out of Australia's limited overs squads, he will return to Tasmania to resume Sheffield Shield duties next month before, fingers crossed, he gets signed to play in the Indian Premier League in April and May. The latest auction is on January 27 and 28.
"We've only got four-day cricket at Tasmania through until the end of our summer," he said. "I'm being monitored as to how I'm going physically with my knee. That will happen after the Big Bash, and we'll go from there.
"I want to play cricket for as long as I can, and as good a cricket as I can, and four-day cricket is obviously more demanding. At the moment, white ball cricket has no effect on me. It's purely four-day cricket going back-to-back. It's tough work.
"I'm not sure about the IPL yet. Really, the main thing for me is to take each challenge as it comes and put some performances on the board."
That will be music to the ears of all concerned with Lancashire.
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