Dubai: When Varun Aaron arrived in the international arena about a decade back in 2011, his ability of constantly hitting the 145-kmph mark was quite a talking point in the Indian cricketing circles. A sequence of injuries have not often helped the paceman from Jharkhand realise his early promise, but he is ready to work the hard yards again in the IPL this season in the Rajasthan Royals shirt.
‘‘I don’t intend to reduce my pace,’’ says the seasoned campaigner - for whom this will be the fourth IPL franchise after Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 2019 domestic season saw him coming back as strong as ever and the 30-year-old wants to carry on the good work in the IPL in the UAE, scheduled to begin here from September 19.
Speaking to Gulf News during an exclusive interview, Aaron - whose team has started training at the ICC Academy grounds - admitted it had been a tough journey so far. ‘‘Injuries are a part and parcel for a fast bowler’s career...it has taught me a lot of lessons about cricket and life. However, at this stage, I feel at the peak of my fitness again and feel really good that my pace hasn’t reduced at all,’’ he said.
Looking forward at a challenging two and-a-half months before him and the Royals, Aaron felt that the team has learnt a lot of lessons from narrowly failing to make it to the play-offs last season and want to go all the way this year. ‘‘It’s nice to be back in the UAE for a IPL after five or six years. I look forward to win the games for any team that I play for and that’s the goal again. We learnt a lot from last year when we narrowly failed to make the qualifiers. This time, we have a really good bowling unit and are looking forward to winning the trophy,’’ he said.
The bowling unit of the Royals looks an awesome one on paper, with the pace bowling department being to handled by the likes of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Oshane Thomas and the two Indian pros in Jaydev Unadkat and Aaron. The heat and humidity of the UAE, which is going to persist well into October, could demand them to bend their backs but Aaron is not unduly perturbed by it.
‘‘You see, the conditions won’t be that unfamiliar for us. We have followed a lot of cricket being played here on TV and video footages. It will be almost like Mumbai and Chennai - the Indian sub-continent in general.
‘‘Yes it’s a challenge that none of us have played any cricket for last five months. However, all of us are professionals and we have reached one month before the tournament to adjust to the conditions. We will also be playing a lot of preparatory matches,’’ said Aaron, who is just three wickets shy of his 50-mark in IPL.
The Royals, according to him, are not going to settle for anything less than the trophy - something which they famously won with a bunch of unheralded players in the inaugural edition in 2008. ‘‘The target is not about just getting into play-offs this time. We have invested a lot of technology and energy into the campaign and winning the trophy is definitely a priority,’’ he felt.
Finally, does he fancy chance of comeback to the Indian team in one of the formats, given the cohesive unit that is already in place with the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah or Bhubaneswar Kumar ? What does he need to do for this?
‘‘I definitely fancy a chance of coming back, that’s still the biggest motivation. I see myself coming back. For starters, I need to help Royals win the trophy this year and a lot of roards will open up from there,’’ an upbeat Aaron added.