Home > Features >

India tour of New Zealand 2014: Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey aim to impress with an eye on ICC World Cup 2015

Varun aaron will be looking to cement his place in the Indian attack after coming back from an injury © AFP
Varun Aaron will be looking to cement his place in the Indian attack after coming back from an injury © AFP

Ishwar Pandey and Varun Aaron, two bowlers with contrasting styles entered the Indian team for the tour to New Zealand. Nishad Pai Vaidya discusses the new additions to the bowling attack.

 

Go back to the ICC Champions Trophy of 2013. Throughout the tournament, India fielded a fast-bowling combination comprising Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Irfan Pathan and R Vinay Kumar were on the bench as the trio dominated the tournament and formed a vital cog of India’s success. Seven months down the line, Yadav and Vinay Kumar find themselves out of the one-day side and Irfan is fighting his way back from injury. As a result, the Madhya Pradesh seamer, Ishwar Pandey and the Jharkhand speedster, Varun Aaron shot through the ranks and made it into the side for the tour to New Zealand.

There has been a systemic failure in the Indian ranks to maintain a stable fast-bowling attack; leading to the emergence of numerous youngsters. While someone like a Mohammed Shami performed consistently and held on to his spot, a Jaydev Unadkat had to go back to domestic cricket for want of opportunities. Aaron and Pandey come into the side at a time when the competition for spots is intense; you cannot count Yadav and company out of the equation as a lot can change in the coming 12 months leading up to the World Cup. For now, it looks like Shami is the only one who seems to have established himself, with Bhuvneshwar coming a close second (although he was benched for a few ODIs).

At the outset, Aaron’s selection was a bit surprising as the right-armer returned to competitive cricket only this season after a two-year long battle with injuries. One can be quite sure that he himself wouldn’t have expected the call at this stage. In a chat with this writer after a Ranji Trophy game last month, Aaron said, “I have to play more games to get stronger and so that my body also gets used to it. For that to happen, I have to play four and five-day matches.” Yes, he has lasted the whole season and has been impressive. But, is it a bit too early to blood him in? Should he have been given more time to adjust his body to the rigours of cricket?

Aaron’s selection seems to be one for want of pace. Yadav is the quickest bowler in the pack, but is wayward and can be very costly in ODIs. It is that very aspect that has seen him out of the ODI side as he has a tendency to leak runs. With the hope of having a more accurate quick, Aaron has been summoned. The injuries have taken a toll on his body, but he is still sticking to his forte. Through his rehab, he made one technical change to his bowling, wherein his backfoot is now a more open during his delivery stride. Has that cut down his pace? “No changes in pace. I get a little more movement though,” says Aaron.

Pandey is a different bowler when compared to Aaron and his selection has more to do with the conditions in New Zealand. He isn’t express, but has a good outswinger and can hit the right areas. His consistency has been phenomenal as he dominated the 2012-13 season. Later, he was on the flight to South Africa to play for India A, and was one of the success stories there. Coach Lalchand Rajput called him the “find of the tour.”

Ishwar Pandey (in picture) was marked out as the "find of the tour" by India A coach, Lalchand Rajput when India A toured South Africa recently © AFP
Ishwar Pandey (in picture) was marked out as the “find of the tour” by India A coach, Lalchand Rajput when India A toured South Africa recently. Picture Courtesy – Ishwar Pandey’s Facebook page

In New Zealand, Pandey’s style may get tremendous help. Even if he may not have the pace, he may still be able to extract movement. Outswing would be crucial if he gets games and may have to be very accurate. In ODIs, he may still have shorter spells, but his real test would come later during the classical format, that is if he gets matches. Pandey is still working on different aspects of his game though. In an interview with the writer in September last year, he said, “I do concentrate on pace and swing. Currently, I am working on getting fitter and pace is also something I have to increase. Also, if I can swing the ball at a pace over 135 kmph, that would be good. That is what I am trying to do.”

For now, it doesn’t look likely that Aaron and Pandey would get games as they seem to be the back-ups to Ishant, Bhuvneshwar and Shami — who in all likelihood would form the bowling attack for the ODIs. The selectors have done well to pick bowlers with different strengths so that they can be ideal backups to the frontline pacers; should there be a requirement at any stage. If they do get opportunities, they need to stamp their authority to stay in the team management’s plans and keep the others out longer. They can certainly take a leaf out of Shami and Bhuvneshwar’s books.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 4 at Southampton: Hosts in command

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Virat Kohli has dinner with Michael Vaughan

Mark Waugh set to begin his new innings as national selector

Peter Siddle praises Stuart Broad

India vs England 2014, Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton: It will be difficult for India to save the match, says Shikhar Dhawan

India vs England 2014, Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton: England are desperate to win, says Joe Root

A Harry Potter XI

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s lacklustre performance, Moeen Ali’s rise as a spinner and other highlights of play on Day 4

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How the legend began

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Will Nawazuddin Siddiqui throw a success bash for Salman Khan’s Kick?

UPSC protesters torch buses, police booth in Delhi!

India vs England 3rd Test, Day 4: 5 interesting highlights of the day’s play

Do Xiaomi smartphones covertly spy on its users?

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Ajay Devgn gets 2500 cops shirtless in Singham Returns!

Motorola Moto G gets Rs 2,000 off on Flipkart

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here