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Aaron seeks match fitness ahead of Ranji season

Amol Karhadkar

August 29, 2013

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Varun Aaron had reason to smile as he picked up three wickets on debut, India v England, 4th ODI, Mumbai, October 23, 2011
Injuries have kept Varun Aaron out of action for the last 15 months © AFP
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India fast bowler Varun Aaron, whose career has been plagued with injuries, is working towards attaining match fitness in time for the Ranji Trophy with a "slight adjustment" to his bowling action. He hopes the tweak will help him last the entire domestic season.

Aaron has been an almost permanent fixture at the National Cricket Academy ever since he was withdrawn from India's squad for the Test series in Australia in 2011-12. Though he returned for a short stint during IPL 2012 where he featured in eight games for Delhi Daredevils, he suffered a recurrence of a back injury.

As a result, the Jharkhand bowler, who keeps ferrying between Bangalore and Pune, where his family is now based, hasn't played a competitive game for more than 15 months. Still, he had a wide smile on his face on Thursday.

"The injury has started healing now. I have started bowling again," he told ESPNcricinfo. "Obviously it would take me a little time to start bowling at full throttle, but I have been trying to build on pace slowly as I progress."

Aaron has had a frustrating last year. Owing to the injuries, Aaron hasn't had a first-class outing since his Test debut in November 2011, and when the recurrence of his back injury was noticed in July 2012, he, along with the physios at the NCA, had expected the wound to heal in about four months. However, in November, it was found that the wound had been infected.

"I consulted a surgeon in England who advised me that surgery was the best option and we went ahead with it in March. Since then, my back has held up pretty well. I would be naive to say that I am not frustrated. It's been quite disappointing to have been out of action for so long but I am positive that the worst is behind me and once I get back on to the field, I am sure I would be able to enjoy my cricket even more."

Aaron has not thought about cutting down on pace, his key weapon, but he has made a slight modification to his bowling action for which he credits Bharat Arun, NCA's outgoing head of bowling unit, and V Venkatram, who was relieved of his duties as bowling coach earlier in the year.

"I would call it a minor adjustment. They suggested I should open up my landing foot while bowling, and it has really helped."

When Aaron rose through the ranks, he and Umesh Yadav were marked as the potential leaders of India's pace attack. However, Aaron's injury setbacks have meant he has lagged way behind in the race for sealing a bowling spot. In fact, he realises he has to start from scratch if he is to make a case for being selected again. But selection is the last thing on his mind for now.

"All that I am thinking about is to be fully fit. The Ranji Trophy season starts in the last week of October and I am hoping to be fit in time for our (Jharkhand¹s) first match," Aaron said. "The next objective would be to remain injury-free for the entire domestic season and then we will take it from there."

A fit Aaron will give more options to the selectors for India's tough year ahead. With tours to South Africa, New Zealand and England lined up in the next seven months, the team's pacers are likely to be stretched to their fullest. If Aaron can indeed last the full domestic season, one would not be surprised if he is part of the tours to either New Zealand or South Africa.

As three of India's pace bowlers -­ Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar - have been going through the paces in what is their routine fitness assessment at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, they would be heartened to see the manner in which Aaron is shaping up for having a crack towards regaining his spot in the national team.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (September 5, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

The problem is that Aaron doesn't have a smooth run up like Umesh...all the force he generates is only at the time of his delivery stride, which thus forces huge impact on his back n shoulders Rahul Shukla who has the similar pace of Aaron has also the same kinda action, thus they are more injury prone than Umesh. Umesh, Aaron, Rahul, Pawan Suyal n Krishnakant Upadhyay are the few bowlers who can bowl consistently above 140's....BBCI need to take care of them and groom them properly. I have very high hopes with Aaron, hope he comes back fitter n stronger n more pacy.....

Posted by CricketMaan on (August 30, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

3 in SA, at least 1 in NZ, 5 in England and then 4 in Aus..WOW Buhvi, Ishant, Yadav, Mohit, Shami can all have glory days or gory days in overseas Tests. Time will tell.

Posted by Johnny_129 on (August 30, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

Best wishes for Aaron. India requires pace bowlers with a big heart and guys who are willing to work hard. If you look at history of pace bowling - nearly all great pace bowlers possessed 'pace' to begin with and then resorted to 'trickery' and many years of honing their skills. Indian pace bowlers lack the pace to begin with and then are quick to drop pace, thinking they have enough 'skills' in the armory to fool Test batsman! India should reserve at least two 'pace' bowling spots on principle alone - That is the way to motivate youngsters to strive for pace.

Posted by 777aditya on (August 30, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

here's hoping the 'slight adjustment' does not mean he will bowl 130 kmph from now on!

Posted by   on (August 30, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

Bechara Varun really deserves a medal for keeping his chin up when these injuries have taken away the great impact he made in his Indian debut..quicker then Umesh and more accurate. I am praying this young man comes back fully healthy hes most deserving..

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (August 30, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

eagerly waiting for his accurate yorkers. all the best dude!

Posted by balajik1968 on (August 30, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

India should let Aaron play the full domestic season. This will get him match fit. They should not rush him into bowling just because he bowls a few overs. He needs to last one season before being considered for India.

Posted by Capricorn60 on (August 29, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

Not being blessed with a lot of young fast bowling talent & in view of his recent injury record, we really need to wrap this guy in cotton wool and be very selective in the amount of cricket he plays as India desperately needs him as part of their teams. Hopefully he will be less injury-prone in the passing of time and gradually start representing India more often in different formats. Best wishes to him.

Posted by Nampally on (August 29, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

India needs genuine fast bowlers of Aaron's pace. He had hit 153 KPH on the radar Gun, enough to justify a speeding ticket on any English or American Highway. Unfortunately all fast bowlers of his pace appear to have back injuries- as evident from multiple injuries to the young Aussie bowlers like Pattinson, Starc, Harris or Bird. Only guys with strong backs keep going like Brett Lee or Steyn. Even Yadev had back problems & appears to have fought it off for the tiome being. It is good to try modified bowling style to put less strain on the back. Great fast bowlers like Truman or Tyson with Mining background had built their backs with strong muscles. So some PT exercises for back will also help + reduced tummy is other good area to focus. Good Luck to Aaron. A physically fit Aaron will be a great asset to the Indian pace attack.

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