Having made his international debut in 2011, one would have expected Varun Aaron to have cemented his place in the Indian team by now – considering that India have always had a dearth of quality fast bowlers. But as luck would have it, he has spent more time nursing injuries than bowling at opposition batsmen.
After numerous visits to doctors across the country to get rid of the problem in his L5 vertebra — aggravated while playing in the 2012 Indian Premier League — Aaron finally went to England where doctors decided that surgery was the only solution.
And after five months of rehabilitation, Aaron is back and he has already shown — by picking seven wickets against Haryana in last week’s Ranji Trophy game — that he is getting back into his groove. Most importantly, while most Indian pacemen tend to cut down on their speed after a couple of injuries, the Jharkhand bowler isn’t willing to do so.
"I enjoy bowling fast and injuries can’t change that. I have always focused on pace and will continue to do so, even though I have suffered a few injuries over the last couple of years. From the time I spent with Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation, I have learned that cutting down on pace isn’t an option," Aaron told Mail Today on Tuesday.
"But it can never be all about pace at the highest level. One needs variations too and that is exactly what I am working on." Aaron is pretty happy with the way things have panned out for him, ever since making his return to competitive cricket this Ranji season.
"The first match against Delhi was washed out, but the next two have gone well and I am feeling confident. I am a bit disappointed that we lost our last match against Haryana. We could have done much better. But we are working towards getting back on track," the 24-year-old said.
The last year has been frustrating for Aaron as he missed out on a lot of cricket, but he says family and friends gave him strength.
"Things were tough, but there are certain things which are never in one’s control. So, I tried to think positive and my family and friends were really supportive. I took it well and didn’t lose focus. Also, the BCCI has been very supportive," he said.
Fast bowlers have been known to correct their actions a lot — almost every time after an injury — but Aaron says he hasn’t changed his run-up or action much.
"I don’t think there is anything wrong with my action. Recurrence of injuries doesn’t mean that one has a bad action. The only thing that I can think of is opening up my backfoot and the point of delivery. That is the only minor change after my comeback from surgery," he revealed.
Thanks to the dearth of good fast bowlers in the country, Aaron has been a topic of discussion every time pundits have spoken about Indian pacers, but Aaron says that he has consciously avoided watching any cricket during his time away from the game.
"I have hardly watched any cricket as I felt I would miss it even more in that case. So I have no clue as to who spoke about me and who didn’t," he said.
While the Indian team will be travelling abroad in the next few months, Aaron isn’t thinking about making it back to the Indian team yet.
"Right now, I am looking at one game at a time. One needs to convince oneself first that one is ready for international cricket and only then should expect a call-up," he signed off.