Michael Clarke, right, congratulates James Faulkner for taking the wicket of England’s Jonathan Trott at the Oval on August 25.
Michael Clarke, right, congratulates James Faulkner for taking the wicket of England’s Jonathan Trott at the Oval on August 25. Getty Images

Faulkner says he’s a team man first

JAMES Faulkner is a talented all-rounder, but admits he is no Shane Watson.

The young Tasmanian was named yesterday in Australia's 12-man squad for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba and could take on the all-rounder's role, with uncertainty still surrounding Watson's ability to bowl due to a hamstring injury.

Faulkner, who made his Test debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval in August, told APN he was thrilled to be in the running to play in the series opener, but it would be foolish to say he was ready to take over from Watson as the No.1 all-rounder.

"As far as I'm concerned, Shane's a class above me and I can't compare myself with him," Faulkner said. "He bats in the top three, he's scored Test hundreds and taken plenty of wickets (64 at 31.92 in his 46 Tests) - I am only starting out.

"Shane has given me massive support and I am learning all the time from him. He's still the main man and Australia needs him to be fit and on the park if we are to regain the Ashes."

While Faulkner is happy to play down his own ability, he has proved he is no slouch.

He scored the fastest one-day international century by an Aussie, belting 100 off just 57 balls during the recent series in India, and in the Ashes series in England he managed something the rest of the Australian bowling attack struggled to do - dismiss the prolific Ian Bell.

He also knocked over England captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott in that Test.

Faulkner is not getting carried away though.

"I had a bit of luck on my Test debut," he modestly said.

"I am not a stats man and never have been. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter if you get a 100, a duck or a five-wicket haul, as long as you win.

"You have to make sacrifices as individuals - the team must come first and that's the way I have always played."

If Faulkner does get the nod as all-rounder, or as fourth seamer if conditions suit, he says there will not be any celebratory high-fives with Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

During the tour in India a mistimed high-five from Faulkner poked Haddin in the eye, but the Tasmanian said all had been forgiven.

"Well, Hadds is talking to me, so that's a good sign," he said with a laugh. Saying that, I think I'll play safe and give him a slap on the butt or traditional handshake if it comes to it."

Australian squad:

Chris Rogers

David Warner

Shane Watson

Michael Clarke (C)

Steve Smith

George Bailey

Brad Haddin

Mitchell Johnson

Peter Siddle

Ryan Harris

Nathan Lyon

James Faulkner


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