Once Greg Chappell said that Australia can’t afford to waste talent like India does because India has talent in abundance. And we completely agree that Indian cricket has enormous talent which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has wasted. While India has won the World Cup and are No 1 Test side and to maintain their glory the Indian team needs to keep performing well to which they require a large pool of talented youngsters. But the BCCI has not been able to nurture and make good use of many of the talented players who have been allowed to fall by the wayside. And among them was Jharkhand fast bowler Varun Aaron.
It was not a regular sight to see a youngster in India who could bowl at such pace, he was inducted into the MRF Pace foundation in Chennai and then he stormed his way into the Jharkhand and East Zone U-19 team. With the amount of pace he generated, he was destined to be India’s next big thing in cricket. But now he is struggling for a place in the Indian team, despite bowling at an average speed on 150 kmph. Fast bowlers have always been a rare commodity in the country. Some, like Ishant Sharma and S Sreesanth, who started off as express bowlers, have flattered to deceive, their pace diminishing with increasing workload and injuries.
But, as they say, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The emergence of Varun Aaron offers much hope. Aaron, first made headlines when he delivered the fastest ball by an Indian pacer ever, 153 kmph, against Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final. Playing for Delhi Daredevils, he also impressed in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.
Aaron ticks all the boxes when it comes to sheer pace but does not have much to boast about. He was not able to swing the ball, and not able to make much with the new ball in both Tests and ODIs. Another problem was that he hits the deck hard, similar to Morne Morkel. He lacks the control and bowling nous, which is present in the current Indian pacers like Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. While Bhuvi specialises in swinging the ball into the right-handers and away from the left-handers, Shami is well known for pace, accuracy, and skill in moving both old and new ball. In contrast to these two bowlers, Aaron is missing a secret ingredient in his bowling. Another big issue for Aaron is his line and length. He is not able to maintain a consistent line and length and is very erratic.
Over the years, Aaron has suffered from recurring stress injuries. He has gone through seven stress fractures. The main reason for these recurring injuries is the lack of a proper fitness plan for fast bowlers in India. Bowling with the pace that Aaron does, it is necessary that the board comes up with a good fitness plan which would reduce these injuries in future. Ishant Sharma used to bowl at an average of over 140 kmph when he started.
Meanwhile, now Aaron (29) still has a lot to offer. With proper guidance and a well-structured plan, he can reach great heights in his career. But with Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ishant Sharma having cemented their place in the Indian bowling line up, it would be difficult for Aaron to make a comeback.