Cricket: Players In Focus: James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile

Here’s two players who have been making their mark on the state scene

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Solid without being spectacular, Coulter-Nile has been a valuable asset to both his West Australian state team and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) Perth Scorchers.

Nathan Coulter Nile (sourced from Google Images)
Nathan Coulter Nile (sourced from Google Images)

Having spent four seasons in the yellow and black of the Warriors outfit, Coulter-Nile uses his 191cm to generate awkward bounce.  No slouch with the bat either, Coulter-Nile hit an enormous six against the Brisbane Heat in the BBL to help secure victory in a rain-affected match.

The most pleasing aspect of Coulter-Nile’s development is his sustainable bowling action.  Shoulder injuries have curtailed the amount of matches possible to play, but being able to push his bowling speeds past 140kph, Coulter-Nile is a great change bowler and can get the ball to cut and dip off the pitch very well.

As Australia heads into another rebuilding phase, Coulter-Nile’s West Australian career is rapidly approaching 100 first-class wickets.  If he can stay injury free until July, there is every chance that we may be seeing a brand new bowling attack, and Coulter-Nile has this season emphatically said to the selectors “I am ready.”

Picking out one pleasing attribute of Coulter-Nile’s game, is that, like Faulkner, he attacks both his batting and bowling.

James Faulkner

The last few seasons has seen a real spike in quality Tasmanian cricket players not only making inroads for their state team, but also pushing for a national case.

James Faulkner, a wily left-arm pacer and very handy batter, came to prominence when signed by theMelbourne Stars for the first instalment of the KFC Big Bash League in December 2011.  Since then, his stats include 125 wickets in 34 first class games (and eight half centuries to boot).  Stats, however, are not always an indication of player talent.

James Faulkner, January 2012 (photo mine)

Faulkner is at his deceptive best with the ball.  Swinging it both ways and with a great change of pace, the short form has become a diamond mine for the young Tassie to really exploit his bowling abilities.  A recent call up to the Australian Twenty20 squad is testament to Faulkner’s hard work throughout the domestic season.

At 22, Faulkner is already showcasing to both the Australian selectors and fans he has the temperament to last at the top level.  A man of the match performance in the 2012-2013 Bupa Sheffield Shield final helped Tasmania hoist the trophy aloft.

Australia’s squad – currently prone to batting collapses – would get a huge boost by having another bowling all-rounder who can acquit himself well with the willow.

The chop-and-change type of current bowling attack is not making life easy for Faulkner.  With Australia heading to England in June for the Champions Trophy and the subsequent Ashes series, Faulkner has definitely made a case to have a ticket on the plane that leaves for England in a couple of months.

Performance Improvements

Mindset for the international level is crucial to be able to sustain a long-term career.  Preparation, however, is almost being abolished in favour of a much heavier short-form regime.

Coulter-Nile and Faulkner simply need to persist at working on what they have already got as a “base”.  Cricket Australia also needs to take a leap of faith and give both a red hot crack rather than an off-again, on-again type of selection.

First seen here on The Armchair Selector

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