Fast bowler Varun Aaron is back at the Wankhede Stadium after two years; this time to lock horns with the Mumbai batsmen in the Ranji Trophy league match from Friday. He made his Test debut against the West Indies at the same venue at Churchgate in November 2011, took the wickets of Darren Bravo, Carlton Baugh and Darren Sammy for figures of 3 for 105 in 28 overs.
He was erratic at times, but impressed most with a lively run up and ability to generate pace. He sent down four overs in the second innings, played a few matches in IPL 2012 and thereafter disappeared; a serious back ailment rendering him out of action for 16 months.
A surgery, rehabilitation at NCA and at the MRF pace foundation has seen him return to competitive cricket in the current Ranji Trophy season and he has proved to be the highest wicket taker for Jharkhand with 11 wickets at 21.45.
Jharkhand is placed at the bottom of Group `A’ and it is virtually out of running for a place in the knock-out, but left arm spinner and captain Shahbaz Nadeem says that his team is looking forward to compete with the 40 time champion side. He also said Aaron, who has bowled 82 overs in three matches against Karnataka, Haryana and Orisssa, is in good shape. The pitch at the Wankhede Stadium will offer assistance to Aaron who would look forward to bring an opponent without Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane under pressure.
Experts and those privy to Aaron’s illness had virtually given up hopes of his return to active cricket, but the 24 year old has surprised one and all. ``He (Aaron) is really bowling well. He has come after two years. He was suffering from fitness problems which he has overcome. He is bowling quick,’’ said Shahbaz.
While the selectors would be keen to take note of Aaron’s progress, in particular on the fitness count, the discerning in the city are keen and eager to know if the 42 year old leg spinner Pravin Tambe will make his Ranji Trophy debut. Neither skipper Abhishek Nayar nor coach Sulakshan Kulkarni were ready to say if Tambe would get the big break, but the latter said: ``He’s always given breakthroughs when his skipper (of Rajasthan Royals) wanted it. He has got the variety a leg spinner should have.’’