KKR vs RR: Varun Aaron credits county stint after Man-of-the-Match performance
Varun Aaron was Man of the Match in Rajasthan's win over KKR. © BCCI

Returning to the team with a bang, Rajasthan Royals pacer Varun Aaron attributed his improvement as a bowler to his county stint where he played for Leicestershire.

In just his second appearance for Royals in IPL 2019, the 29-year-old rocked Kolkata Knight Riders‘ top order by taking the wickets of openers Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill with inswinging deliveries. The Jharkhand pacer’s effort (4-1-20-2) also earned him the Player of the Match award.

Royals went on to win the match by three wickets to keep their faint chances of a playoffs berth alive.

“I used to rely on my outswing deliveries a lot before. But last year when I was not playing the IPL, I played county cricket and worked on my inswing which is really handy because on wickets like this you can’t get much of room,” Aaron told reporters at the post match press conference on Thursday night.

“I’ve always bowled inswinging deliveries but they are coming off a lot better after my county stint,” he said.

Aaron was not bought by any franchise for IPL 2018 and went on to play county cricket with Leicestershire.

He is looking forward to another county stint.

“I’m looking forward to going and playing in county cricket after the IPL because I have some time. I really enjoyed my time last year and I’m looking forward to another stint with a county side. I don’t really know which team will need a fast bowler since I’m going to join mid-season. It all depends on availability of the current players or fitness and form and stuff like that.”

Varun Aaron Man of the Match IPL 2019
Varun Aaron collects the Man-of-the-Match prize after starring in RR’s win. BCCI

Asked if it was a team management decision to not play him so far, Aaron said: “It was more of a team combination thing and management’s decision. There was no injury concern at all.”

He found a lot of assistance from the fast Eden Gardens wicket. “I felt it was a very good cricketing wicket. It had something for the bowlers, something for the batters and everybody knows it’s really a value-for-shot outfield.

“The wicket definitely had something for everybody, not just me. I was looking forward to bowling here because it had more bounce than the other wickets we play in. Since we won the toss and chose to bowl, we knew there would be a little seam movement up front. I always love bowling at Eden and it is one of my favourite places to bowl.”

Royals were struggling at 98/5 after 13 overs chasing 176 for victory before Riyan Parag (47) and Jofra Archer (12-ball 27 not out) changed the tide with a match-winning 44-run seventh wicket stand between them. Aaron said they always believed they could achieve the target.

“None of us go into a cricket game thinking we’re not going to win. We believe in each other. Jofra hits the ball really well and Riyan has also been batting very well. At no point we thought that the game was lost. You get so much value for your shots at the Eden Gardens. We were just like three or four hits away and it came off well.”

Royals next take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.