Out-of-favour India fast bowler Varun Aaron will play for Division 2 side Leicestershire in 2018 Specsavers County Championship. Aaron, who has represented India in 9 Tests and as many ODIs thus far, has played county cricket for Durham in 2014 and was part of India’s Test tour to England in the same year.
Having gone unsold at the IPL auction in January, Aaron is expected to play across both first-class and List A formats for Leicestershire this season and the 28-year-old speedster is keen to use it as a platform for the national comeback.
“This time it’s going to be a lot different. I’m starting the season for Leicestershire, it’s a great challenge. India is touring England straight after that. I’d be silly to say I am not thinking about it. But my main focus will be to have a positive impact on Leicestershire,” Aaron told Wisden India.
“Bowling in English conditions every day is different for an Indian bowler. You have to be spot on with basic things – wrist position and stuff. When the cloud cover comes on, if you’re off a little, it becomes exaggerated especially when you’re bowling fast. After the England tour (2014), I felt I was bowling at my best. In India, the ball hardly moves so even if you’re off a little bit, you can still bowl where you wanted to bowl. With a moving ball, the challenge is more and you need more concentration to land the ball where you want to,” he added.
Having made his international debut back in 2011, Aaron became the victim of several career-threatening injuries. However, he has not given up just as yet. The Jharkhand born pacer looks to evolve with every outing as a bowler.
“Control hasn’t been a real issue. When I came into the scene in 2010-11, maybe yeah, I didn’t have that control I wanted to. After that, it’s been really good. In the current Ranji Trophy season, I was going at an economy of 2.95 or something (3.21). In the past, the economy used to be 3.5 to 3.8. As you grow older, you realise you have to play a waiting game. I was very aggressive, it was just my nature – I just wanted to get wickets. You end up bowling high risk balls – it’s good but you should know when to switch it on and simmer it down. Experience teaches you that,” Aaron said.
“The last season, we played on some really flat tracks with only one seamer. I bowled 140 overs in a span of five games and got 15 wickets. I was satisfied personally. If somebody else looked at it, it won’t look really impressive. But I know what conditions we played on and how much I had to try to get every single wicket. Out of four games, two were in Ranchi and the other in Jamshedpur. They’re not just flat, they’re pretty dead,” he explained.
Aaron, who hasn’t played for India since November 2015, also expressed his disappointment at not being kept in the contention by the current selection committee or the national team management.
“There hasn’t been any communication. In 2016, I played against Australia A in the four-dayers, after that there has been no communication. It has been that way for the last one and a half years,” he asserted.
“Every selection committee comes with a different view of looking at things. I don’t know what the views of the current committee are. The previous selection committee believed a lot in me – Sandeep Patil, Saba Karim and those guys. Back then, if I was not in the Indian team, I used to get a chance in India A or Irani. At least back then, I was getting chances to prove myself at a proper level and make comebacks.
“The last year has been a little different. I’ve not been given a shot at all to prove myself. That has been a little disappointing. I’m pretty young – I’m not past 30, fit and bowling well. Looking back, I feel the least a selection committee should give somebody who has played for India or who has done well in the past are games like Irani Trophy or India A,” he elaborated.
During the recently held IPL auction, none of the eight franchises had bid for Aaron. Nonetheless, the speedster wasn’t affected by it much.
“I found it a little shocking, to be honest. It wasn’t difficult by any means for me to handle it because I know the calibre of player I am,” he said.
“Even in the previous year, I had a good season with Kings XI (Punjab). Basically, I never saw it coming. When you have a good IPL season the previous year, you usually get picked the next year. I’ve always been going for a good price in the IPL – it’s not like I go for Rs 30-40 lakh. But it took me just five minutes to get out of it and realise it’s not the end of the world,” Varun Aaron concluded.