Combative allrounder James Faulkner has set the tone for an explosive return to international cricket, saying he dislikes the West Indies team and can’t wait to knock them out of the Twenty20 World Cup.
The 23-year-old will in all likelihood make his comeback from a knee injury in Australia’s crucial clash with defending champions the West Indies on Friday night (AEDT), which could decide the fate of each team’s progression in the tournament.
Faulkner’s volatile history with the West Indies dates back to his debut one-day international series, where he gave masterblaster Chris Gayle an expletive-laden send off after rattling his stumps at Manuka Oval last year.
He was fined 10 per cent of his match fee by the ICC but he has no intention of backing down if the pair come face-to-face this week.
“I don’t particularly like them,” Faulkner said of Australia’s next opponents.
“Good players are good players. You have to do things to get under their skin and try and irritate them to try and get them off their game.
“Players do that to me and I do it to other players. It’s a fact of the game.
“A lot of it is played in your mind.
“If you can do something to upset somebody and upset their team, it goes a long way towards doing well as a group.”
Having lost their opening clash to Pakistan on Sunday, Australia are now walking a tricky path to the knockout stages of the tournament.
A loss to the Calypso Kings would almost certainly end their bid for a maiden T20 World Cup title in the group stages.
But the West Indies aren’t much better off, having themselves lost to India before beating Bangladesh on Tuesday – and a vital match against Pakistan to finish off their group games.
India appear certainties to advance, with wins over Pakistan and the West Indies, and a clash against easybeats Bangladesh to come, leaving just one spot remaining from the ‘group of death’.
Faulkner said Australia were aware of the importance of Friday’s game, but also said there was “definitely” extra motivation to knock out the Windies.
“There’s a few players I would like to knock over and more importantly I’d like to beat them,” he said.
The West Indies and Australian team are currently sharing a hotel in downtown Dhaka, with both groups of players crossing paths in the hotel foyer and dining areas.
Faulkner said he had yet to come across his old adversary Gayle.
“I haven’t seen him I’ll say hello though – I’m always polite,” he said.
“But I won’t be saying ‘hello’ if I’m playing Friday.”