WHEN Varun Aaron dismissed Moeen Ali at Old Trafford, it was a seminal moment for Indian cricket. Or so it should have been. For decades, Indians had watched with a mixture of awe and envy, as fast bowlers from other lands, near and far, raided their sentinel without remorse.
Here, in a young man from Jharkhand, they had unearthed their own pace find-a genuine Right Arm Fast. But the diabolical disintegration of the Indian batting line-up from that point on would ensure that Varun’s fire and brimstone was reduced to being a footnote in a disastrous Test series and be dwarfed in the dastardly post-mortems that would follow.
While his son was knocking Ali out in Manchester, Paul Aaron was at work in Pune. He had, however, ensured that the proceedings of the second day’s play of the fourth Test were being recorded back home. And he would sit back later that night at his Viman Nagar apartment, and watch on loop Varun setting the English batsman up with a menacing bouncer before blowing his stumps away with a full-pitched torpedo, his grin growing wider each time he saw him do it.
It was a manner of dismissal that is sure to have made any of the legendary West Indian fast bowlers that the senior Aaron grew up idolizing, nod in approval. The same lot whose stories he would narrate to his ward and eventually inspire him to become a tearaway. Not to forget the holder of the record for the fastest ball to be bowled on Indian soil-the 153 kph-thunderbolt that brought Varun into the limelight back in 2011.
“I would always imagine him picking up wickets the way he got rid of Ali. That’s the actual fast bowler’s way of getting wickets. Softening him up and then bowling him with a brute. That will be one ball that will remain in my memory for a long time,” the senior Aaron tells The Indian Express.
It doesn’t take too long into the conversation to fathom that fast bowling is a family obsession for the Aarons. If the son’s setting pulses racing with his speed now, the father too reminisces about having been an intimidating sight for batsmen in played club cricket. It was an obsession nurtured during long sessions at the dinner table where Varun would sit listening to tales of the cricketing feats of legends like Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee and Malcolm Marshall to name a few.
One though stuck out, and Varun did raise eyebrows earlier in his career when admitting that his fast bowling idol was Andy Roberts-the former West Indian great who had hung up his boots long before he was born.
“Varun started off trying to bowl like Thommo and then moved on continued…