The sight of an Indian fast bowler hurling thunderbolts at the opposition batsmen and having them at sixes and sevens invariably provides an extra ‘delight’. And one youngster gave us such elation when he made his Test as well as his one-day international debut within a span of one month a couple of years back only to slip into oblivion thanks to a persistent back injury.
Varun Aaron has been the most-talked about paceman in India ever since he clocked a scorching 153 kph during the 2010-11 Vijay Hazare Trophy final against Gujarat at the Holkar Stadium in Indore – the batsman Niraj Patel who shouldered arms to that zippy delivery later became part of history – having faced the fastest ball ever bowled by an Indian.
The Jharkhand youngster, who has been out of international cricket for nearly two years now, is charting out his comeback plans after a prolonged back injury, which led to a long-drawn rehab programme coupled with a surgery in England.
Cricket buffs were bubbling with excitement about the lip-smacking prospect of Aaron teaming up with Umesh Yadav for the 2010-11 Australian tour, but a ‘stress reaction on his back’ first put him out of the 2010 ODI series at home against West Indies (he played the first two ODIs) and later for the tour Down Under. He did feature in the 2012 IPL playing eight games for Delhi Daredevils before his back injury resurfaced.
Aaron has been spending considerable amount of time at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. He has his eyes firmly set on the upcoming Ranji Trophy season. “I’m really looking to playing in the Ranji Trophy. I’m excited about playing for Jharkhand , I will soon join the state team for the Ranji preparations after Durga Puja and will take it from there,” Aaron says in an exclusive interview to Sportskeeda.
Staging a comeback to the national side after a protracted injury lay-off can never be a piece of cake, and the Jharkhand lad is trying to keep things simple. “I have taken this back injury in my stride. Injuries are bound to happen, and you can’t control them. Thankfully, I have a great support system around me – my parents, my coaches at NCA, even MRF Pace Foundation where I drop in from time to time – their constant encouragement have made my rehab plans quite smooth,” he quips.
The rehab programme was conducted meticulously with Aaron taking whatever time is required to sort out his back, which has troubled him in the past. “I have been bowling for the past three months. I’m gradually building it up and will soon reach a stage where I will deliver at full tilt.”
The 23-year-old quickie, who made his Test and ODI debut at the same venue – Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai – is not thinking about the cut-throat competition for places in the Indian team.
“I’m really not bothered who is in the side and who is not. I will just try to do my job in the Ranji Trophy, who knows a good performance might see me knocking the doors of the selectors. For now, I’m just keen to play in the Ranji Trophy,” he says matter-of-factly.
Aaron, who grew up idolising West Indies tearaway Andy Roberts, reveals that he has made a minor adjustment to his bowling action following suggestions from former NCA bowling unit head Bharat Arun and V Venkatram.
“Well, it’s a slight adjustment in my bowling action. I have started opening up my landing foot while bowling, and it has really worked well for me,” he explains.
Face bowlers sometimes tend to lose their pace when they are coming off a long injury lay-off – is Aaron apprehensive about losing his pace? “Not at all, I’m pretty sure that I will be able to bowl at the same pace as I had done in the past,” he assures.
The Jamshedpur lad, who exuded his brute pace during his ODI debut against England when he cleaned up the likes of Scott Borthwick, Stuart Meaker and Tim Bresnan, with full pitched deliveries in an incisive spell at the death, lavished praise on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni: “The good thing about Dhoni is that he stays calm whatever be the situation of the game is – more importantly he lets you do your thing, which is encouraging for me,” he signs off.