Varun Aaron made his Test debut in November 2011, and then spent the next two and a half years recovering from a back injury. Now he’s back, bowling at fierce speed and troubling the England batsmen in the Old Trafford Test.
Before heavy rain and the subsequent wet outfield resulted in a curtailed second day, Aaron picked up three wickets from 16 overs. He dismissed Alastair Cook, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali to help India claw back into the match after being skittled out for 152.
“When I got operated a year and a half back in London, playing this series was one of my targets,” Aaron said. “I am glad I am here, finally playing again and that I’ve had a decent match so far.
“I was bowling a lot in the nets when I wasn’t playing and I felt good even then. I am glad I could carry that rhythm into the match.”
The road back was a tough and painful one for the 24-year-old fast bowler. But he said having the right people around him made the process easier.
“I was really lucky to have a good support system. The BCCI really backed me during my surgery and my prolonged rehabilitation at the NCA. I also did really good work at the MRF foundation.
“After the surgery I was walking on thin ice in my attempt to come back and bowl fast again. I had great physios and trainers around me who made my road to recovery very easy,” he said.
Despite the various stress fractures, Aaron never thought of compromising on his pace. And that’s what makes him an asset to have amid the medium pace bowlers in the team.
“There is no role as such but there is a clear message – I have to bowl quick. The length of my spell depends on the situation. Bowling a six-over spell is not a problem but yes, short spells are always better,” he said.
The highlight of the second day’s play at the Old Trafford was the delivery with which Aaron got rid of Moeen Ali. He rattled Ali with a sharp bouncer and followed it up with a vicious in-swinger that knocked off Ali’s stumps. Aaron said it was his ploy to ruffle Ali up with short-pitched bowling.
“He did have a problem against the short ball in the previous two Tests,” Aaron said. “I watched those dismissals from the sidelines and I knew that if I bowled a couple of good bouncers, it might be tough for him. A good bouncer followed by a sharp full delivery is always an effective option.”
As the match goes into the third day, England have a lead of 85 runs with four wickets in hand. While admitting the hosts have their noses slightly up, Aaron said things could change very quickly in the morning session.
“England are ahead in the game right now but not by a vast margin,” he said. “If we have some quick wickets, even a 100-odd run lead is quite manageable on this wicket.
“The wicket has changed drastically from what we saw in the first session of the Test and I am sure it will get flatter as we progress.”