When his raw pace a 153 kph thunderbolt in particular helped Varun Aaron make the headlines,experts had advised caution and careful handling of the rare talent. What has come to pass is exactly what they feared. Out of action for most part of the year,the 22-year-old from Jharkhand now finds himself back on the doctors table,undergoing yet another rehabilitation programme,with no clarity yet on his back injury.
As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Aarons IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils point fingers at each other,Aaron is unlikely to even attempt bowling for another three-four weeks. A return to cricket is tentatively scheduled only for September.
Aaron,who overcame two stress fractures in his teens,was ruled out of the Australian tour in December as a result of a back stress reaction. He spent the following months rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) before heading Down Under to undergo scans. Part of Delhis touring party during the early stages of the recent IPL series,he played his first game mid-way through the tournament. He finished with eight wickets in eight matches,his pace as impressive as ever.
Says T A Sekar,former India fast bowler and mentor with the Daredevils: The back injury must have relapsed after the IPL. He was 100 per cent fit during the matches he played and he even bowled at 145 plus in them. Sekar adds that it was only after putting Aaron through their own rehab schedule that Delhi decided to give him a go.
Ideally the board should have sent him to Australia for treatment in December itself,especially since they had a qualified physio in Evan Speechly with them. The two-month delay really cost him, says Sekar.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale lobs the ball in Delhi Daredevils court. Once the player is with his franchise,the board cannot interfere with his decision to play or not. Its the franchises physio and their management who take the call and decide whether he is fit for action, he says.
Another Daredevils official claimed the treatment provided to Aaron at the NCA prior to the IPL wasnt really beneficial and might have proved detrimental. He recovered much faster at our rehab centre,Vardhan,in Delhi. You need doctors specialised in sports medicine for treating injuries to fast bowlers. I dont think Varun was in top shape when he came to us from the NCA, he said.
This is not the first time that the club vs country debate has flared up as a result of the lack of transparency between the board and franchise. Gautam Gambhir had ignored the physios recommendation of six-eight week rest during the IPL last year,by captaining Kolkata Knight Riders in a knockout match. He ended up aggravating a shoulder injury that kept him out of the West Indies tour.
Aaron himself believes his back injury worsened towards the end of IPL. There was a slight niggle,but I was still good enough to bowl at my best during the IPL. But as soon as I experienced the pain again,I returned to the NCA some five weeks back.
He also remains confident of making a comeback to Indian colours soon. Dennis Lillee,he said,had suggested a few,subtle changes to his bowling action when he met him at the MRF Academy recently.