Aaron eyes injury-free action

Being unsold at the IPL auction this season, the Jharkhand pacer is back to the MRF Pace Foundation to adjust his action to increase efficiency and stage an international return.

At the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, Varun Aaron has been working on his bowling action under the watchful eyes of the academy director, Glenn McGrath, and chief coach, M. Senthilnathan.   -  K. Pichumani

Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron’s international career has been plagued with injuries. Stress fractures, a surgery to set a vertebra right and niggles constantly restricted his free flow. But now, Aaron is set to bring about a change in his fortunes.

Being unsold at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction this season, the 28-year-old is looking to utilise the free period to adjust his action to stage an India comeback. “Missing the IPL could be a blessing in disguise. Ever since I got back to the Indian team in 2014, there have been some tournament or the other and I never had time to look into the finer aspects,” Aaron told Sportstar, on the sidelines of his regular training session at the MRF Pace Foundation here on Monday.

“I am working on a few changes in my action which will be more efficient with the body. This wouldn’t have happened had I not got time off. It is not a major change, but a minor adjustment,” added Aaron, who represented Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL till last season.

Room for adjustments

He agreed that he was a bit surprised when he wasn’t bought at the auction but the thought of missing the cash-rich league — to prepare for an international return — had been in his mind for sometime. “IPL is one of the bigger tournaments in the country and missing it is a big deal for a lot of people. I am not saying this because I am not playing this time, but I have been contemplating skipping the tournament. Last season, I thought of going and playing county instead. But I was contracted and I didn’t want to go down that path. This time, it happened by default,” he revealed, adding, “I am still keen to play county.”

Aaron’s forte lies in his pace and he doesn’t want to cut that down. “When I returned to the Indian team, I was swinging the ball too. I had made a slight change to my action then. But I never had time to think on the adjustments, which was a big mistake. I should have focused on the changes that helped me get back to the team. This is a great opportunity for me to backtrack a little bit, go back to the basics and get them right. I will not compromise on pace. My way of looking at things are different and I am sure it will pay in the long run,” said Aaron, who played nine Tests and as many ODIs with 18 and 11 wickets under his belt in the respective formats.

Technical changes

M. Senthilnathan, the chief coach at the MRF Pace Foundation, reasoned that the technical change in Aaron’s bowling will prevent his back from getting injured. “We (along with Glenn McGrath, the director of the academy) are trying to fine-tune his action so that his back is safe. He had a couple of back injuries and stress fractures in the past. We are trying to get an injury-free action. It is a technique to prevent injury and increase efficiency,” he said.

Aaron is currently trying to master the adjustment with a short run-up. “We asked him to bowl with a short run-up, watch the video and then go back two yards and run in again. The idea is to get him consistent in the short run first. It takes time. When he is trying to bowl a little faster going back a few yards, he is much better than earlier but still, he is not achieving what he is getting in the short run. Eventually, he will get it,” he added.

Senthilnathan believes Aaron ticks all the boxes to bounce back. “We are working on his technical base. If that comes along with fitness, then he will be a different bowler. Nobody doubts his abilities; leave alone the IPL, those things will follow him. As far as I am concerned, I feel he needs to play for the country again,” he added.

Aaron is eyeing India’s overseas tours, especially the series in Australia, later this year. “One of my dreams is to help India win a series abroad,” he said.

He was a part of the bowling pack that toured Down Under in 2014. It remains to be seen if life comes full circle for the Jharkhand lad.

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