Mumbai v Jharkhand, Ranji Trophy, Group A, Mumbai, 2nd day December 7, 2013

How Aaron's spell shook Mumbai's top order


Fourteen overs spread over three sessions is not much to go by but Varun Aaron's furious seven-over burst before lunch against Mumbai was another indication that his comeback from a long injury layoff is progressing well. Aaron returned to first-class cricket after two years this Ranji season following his recurrent back troubles. Into his fourth match, he's taken 13 wickets at an average of 20.30. More heartening than the numbers was the pace, bounce, seam and swing he generated in those seven overs before lunch that claimed Wasim Jaffer and Sushant Marathe.

Aaron was unplayable at times during that spell, straightening the ball on a tight line around off stump and getting it to climb sharply. He also slipped in the surprise yorker, nearly claiming Siddhesh Lad after making him think a short ball was forthcoming with a short leg in place. Often, deliveries took off from good length and flew high into the keeper's gloves.

"I think the first spell was very fast," Shahbaz Nadeem, the Jharkhand captain, said. "I was standing at point and there were one or two deliveries that I could not spot at all. I saw them being released and then straight in the hands of the keeper. He bowled even quicker against Karnataka. If Varun is in rhythm, the nature of the pitch does not matter to him. What he did in the first spell was tremendous. The first two wickets were very important for us."

This wasn't a helpful pitch, as Mumbai's seamers had discovered and their keeper Aditya Tare admitted. To beat as good a batsman as Jaffer with pace and bounce on the cut needed some effort. "That [Aaron's spell] shook us," Tare said. "Wasim bhai is a big batsman and in good form. That was a big wicket. The pitch isn't all that great for a fast bowler and is kind of slow. But he bowled quick. But I think Umesh [Yadav] bowled a bit quicker [for Vidarbha in Mumbai's previous game]."

Aaron was used quite sparingly after lunch. He bowled two spells of two overs each in the second session and sent down only three overs after tea. Given his frequent breakdowns, Jharkhand did not want to extend their premier fast bowler as he seeks to rebuild his career. Aaron also did not go flat out like he had before lunch.

"He is returning from injury after two years," Nadeem said. "He is not a bowler who can bowl long spells. He is a bowler who will come for three-four overs and bowl quick. He requires more effort. In the two overs he bowled after lunch, he saw that the ball was not swinging. So I suggested that you stop and I'll try the other bowlers.

Nadeem did not think Aaron was holding himself back at all. "He goes all out each time he plays a game," he said. "This season, every game he's delivered spells where you can see he's bowling quick and is on top of the batsmen. But as your shoulders tire, you automatically slow down. You lose your freshness. A fast bowler cannot bowl 145-146 kph every spell in days' cricket. It can happen in one-day cricket, but in days' cricket the second and third spells will come down to 140-141."

As long as Aaron can deliver a similar, energetic spurt on the third morning, Jharkhand will be glad to manage his workload for the remainder, if any, of the Mumbai innings.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Suresh on December 10, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Grt lets hope he continues with it wish you a grt future

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    Oh God sent...India need aaron and umesh in form. Inspite of everything being said I still think Ishant has the potential and needs guidance regarding his wrist position and release. Dhoni for whom I have immense respect and admiration should realize the value of genuine fast bowlers instead of Vinay Kumars and Mohit Sharma's.

  • Rashmi on December 9, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    Finally Aaron made it to the top

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    It is time for Selectors to pick him in Odi squad first,let him play odis n later he be imported into test squad.. Yadav goes for more runs he has only pace by his side. Probably Umesh is suited for test cricket. N der is another talent Ishwar pandey who bowled well in A tour of SA... We hav good quality pace bowlers,but the problem is dat they keep getting injured.. The reason is very simple that is a player plays all The format. Consider Shahmi ,he is now playing 2test 3odi and again 3odi and 2tests wer s rest for him. See australia their ODI bowling is mckay,faulkner,johnson starc n coulternile n they have siddle harris as test specialists ,but for India every bowler is playing all the 3 formats ,so he gets injured n loses form quite often..

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    by far the best fastest and most feared bowler...being wasted in first class cricket needs to be drafted into team as soon as possible please let him have a go overseas unlike dead pitches of india where he has played till now..didnt bowl in a single match in england

  • Sandeep on December 9, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    India has got good fast bowlers in their part but never use them properly.Instead choose for slow medium bowlers like B kumar,Vinay,mohit etc.B kumar is good in india and seaming conditions like Eng & NZ.But we need real fast bowlers like V Aron,Yadav etc for AUS/SA tours.It will be good if BCCI keep these players in the squad and use them properly.We have A Aron, VRV singh, Yadav who is having genuine pace to keep the opposition batsman on the toe.In test matches in SA india team for my side is below.Vijay, Dhawan,Pujara,Kohli,Rohit, Rahane, Dhoni,Ashwin,Zaheer, Yadav, Shami

  • raj on December 9, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    This guy Aaron has great attitude. Needs to be fast-tracked back into Indian team to help his and teams development. SA would have been a perfect hunting ground for Aaron. One disappointing fact is that the bowlers with any kind f decent pace tend to drop their pace very quickly once they make it into big time and have got their fame and money! Ishant being case in point. Although Irfan was talking up him maintaining his pace, he's drop in pace could be excused by injuries. However, he never tried to regain the pace - going for self preservation instead. I really hope that Aaron and Yadav will be the pace spearheads that India have long awaited, with Shami and BK/ Zak/ Dawan forming the remainder of the attack.

  • vageesan on December 8, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    Good to hear that varun is among wickets. Hope dhoni trusts him. We should not rush him into the team. May be we can build a very strong team to tour newzealand, england and later australia. If we start planning and strategising from now, we can surely win all the three series. This is what dhoni and co are unable to do due to tight schedule. My choice of squad to groom for the above three overseas series.

    Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Zaheer, Varun aaron, Shammi..... are my playing 11... rest of the squad members are... Dinesh karthick, Umesh yadav, Rishi dhawan and rahane.

  • Android on December 8, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    the team should b like this: 1-sehwag,2-dhawan,3-kohli,4-yuvraj,5-raina,6-sharma,7-dhoni,8-ashwin,9-aaron,10-yadav,11-shami ahmed reserves:jadeja,bhuvneshwar,irfan pathan,chand

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Shami Ahmed are the bowlers which we should look forward with Rishi Dhawan, it will definately help us to defend our World cup and we should play Ashwin or Jadeja as our lone spinner. Team Should be: 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Ajinkya Rahane 4. Virat Kohli 5. Saurabh Tiwary 6. MS Dhoni 7. Rishi Dhawan 8. Ravi Ashwin 9. Varun Aroon, 10 Umesh Yadav 11. Shami Ahmed. And dont worry of the control of our fast bolwers it will only come when we play them continiously. 12. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 13. Ravindra Jadeja 14. Zaheer Khan 15. Yuvraj Singh (As he is hero for world cup for India, once the odis are over he should conc and play Ranji well). Ravindra Jadeja should improve his batting i see him playing @5 for long time if he succeds.

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