The disastrous showing in the first three Tests against England exposed a major chink in India's armoury. While England's replacement players stepped up and performed to expectation, India's poor bench strength became the talking point.
With senior players failing with the bat, and injuries to key bowlers adding to their woes, India looked clueless with the ball as they were thrashed at Lord's, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston, particularly by England's lower order.
Certainly, India's attack lacks a genuine fast bowler, one who can create fear in batsmen's minds and finish off the tailenders with fearsome pace and bounce.
But fast bowlers have always been a rare commodity in the country. Some, like Ishant Sharma and S Sreesanth, who started off as express bowlers, have flattered to deceive, their pace diminishing with increasing workload and injuries.
But, as they say, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The emergence of Jharkhand youngster Varun Aaron offers much hope.
Aaron, who constantly bowlers in the high 140s (kmph), first made headlines when he delivered the fastest ball by an Indian ever, clocking an amazing 153kmph, against Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final, in March. Playing for Delhi Daredevils, he also impressed in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.
More recently, the 21-year-old confirmed his growing potential by finishing as the top wicket-taker (10 wickets in four games) in the Emerging Nations tournament in Australia, where India emerged triumphant.
Speaking to Harish Kotian soon after returning from Down Under, Aaron revealed there's lot more to his bowling than just pace!
You were one of India's star performers with the ball in the Emerging Nations tournament recently, having taken 10 wickets in four games. Was this the highest level of cricket you competed in? How was the experience?
I have also played in the IPL, but I would rate India 'A' higher than the IPL. But you can't compare both, because Emerging Nations was a three-day match tournament, while the IPL is a Twenty20 tournament. It was a good experience; I learnt a lot.
Photographs: Getty Images
Image: Varun Aaaron
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
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