Varun Aaron, born on October 29, 1989, is one of India’s biggest hopes in the fast-bowling department owing to his tearaway speed. If he stays fit, he can be a huge asset for the Indian team. Nishad Pai Vaidya discovers Aaron’s progress.
Whenever a tearaway emerges in Indian cricket, there is often an unparalleled buzz souring his arrival. In a country that hasn’t produced express bowlers, such rare gems are welcomed and hopes are pinned on them even before they don the national colours. Thus, when Varun Aaron clocked 153 kmph in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final in 2011, the news made headlines even though the World Cup ensued in the country. People were quick to recognise his pace potential and a few months down the line, he was in the Indian team owing to that promise.
Aaron told CricketCountry, “I came to know that I had bowled the fastest ball after one of my team-mates told me in the dressing room. I was mighty surprised and felt happy about it. Actually, I was more delighted that Jharkhand won the title.”
Born on October 29, 1989 in Jharkhand, Aaron has been a pace bowler throughout and looked up to Andy Roberts for inspiration. “I like his intimidating style of bowling,” he told CricketCountry during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2011. Aaron played for Jharkhand Under-15s in 2004 and was in the Under-19 side two years later. Early in his career, he was at the MRF Pace Foundation at Chennai and also trained with the India Under-19. In 2008, he was a part of the Australian Centre of Excellence squad for the Emerging Players Tournament Down Under and played along-side David Warner, Matthew Wade, Usman Khawaja, Moises Henriques, Steve O’Keefe and Peter Forrest to name a few.
Aaron then made his debut for Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy in 2008 against Jammu and Kashmir and took two for 51 in his first essay. From there on, his was affected by injuries and he could not complete the seasons. It was only during the 2010-11 season that he played a good number of games and gave a glimpse of his talent. For the 2010 edition, he was a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad. However, that ball against Gujarat (153 kmph delivery) brought him the limelight and he was in the Delhi Daredevils side for the 2011 season. When he first played for them, all eyes were on the big screen as the people waited for the speed-gun’s mark.
However, Aaron’s stats that season were not too great. In five First-Class games, he took only 13 wickets at 32.53 with a best of five for 17. It was in List A cricket where he was more successful as he took 14 wickets in eight matches at 19.07, the best figures being five for 47. Yet, sometimes you have to look beyond the figures and Aaron was on the flight to Australia with the Emerging Players team. In that tournament Down Under, he did impress along with another tearaway, Umesh Yadav. As a result, he was picked for the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in England, where he did not get to play a game although India were getting beaten easily.
When England arrived in India for a return visit, Aaron made his ODI debut at Mumbai. Bowling at a good pace, he took three for 24 to mark an encouraging start to his career. Later in November, he made his Test debut at the same venue against the West Indies. In his first innings, he took three for 106 as West Indies plundered the runs. Yet, he showed that he could trouble the batsmen and people hoped to see him on the tour to Australia late that year. However, a back injury ruled him out of that tour and he had to watch the team from the sidelines.
During the IPL 2012, Aaron returned from injury and played a few matches for Delhi. However, the injury happened again and he was out of action. Since then, he has undergone surgery and is trying to make a comeback. Having been away from the game for so long, one wonders what may have changed. India hoped for pace, but if there is anything to go by, he is not ready to cut down.