Varun Aaron injured again – how can such incidents be minimised?

Fast Bowlers injury Issues

Fast Bowlers injury Issues

The first game of the recently started series between India and Sri Lanka at Cuttack saw an exhilarating, and dare be said, a rare sight for an Indian cricket fan – two fast bowlers operating at either end. Both Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron are capable of bowling seriously quick with Aaron capable of breaching the 150 kph mark as was shown in his very first over. Aaron started the match well but unfortunately was not able to complete the game after suffering an injury in his quadriceps muscles.

Now, the exact extent of his injury and the effect of it on his participation for the series are not known.  This is not the first time that the Jharkhand fast bowler has broken down. He has been in the news for several years for his blistering pace but has never really held down a place as such in the Indian team for long and it seems that the latest injury will only add to the ignominy. For the fast bowler himself this will be a backward step after what he did in England.

However, the positive aspect of Aaron is that he is capable of taking these injuries in his stride and still come back and bowling as fast as he would have done before he got injured. He has said time and again that he will never cut down on pace and that is heartwarming for any true fan of Indian cricket.  From the point of view of the Indian cricket team, the effect will be felt the most during the test series in Australia. He could have played a better role over there with his attributes. However, the situation may not be so bad in the one-day games where Dhoni prefers to go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma. If they are fit they will probably head India’s attack with Ishant Sharma and perhaps Umesh Yadav or Dhaval Kulkarni.

Now the question that needs to be asked is why Aaron is so injury prone and what the Indian board can do to mitigate the situation involving injuries to fast bowlers. Perhaps Aaron may not be as fit as he should be to bowl fast consistently without breaking down but the way he has continued to recover would suggest that he has the iron will to bowl quick and that needs to be respected by everyone concerned. One feels that the board can play a much bigger role in this issue.

Broader fitness plans for fast bowlers a must

To start with, the Indian board needs to start a proper plan for its fast bowlers. The problem with fast bowlers is that the very nature of this form of bowling places immense pressure on the body and they are highly injury prone as a result. Nowadays with different kinds of cricket being played and with their unique demands it becomes very tough for the out and out fast bowlers to adapt to all and perform well.

This is why it is better that the board has a definite plan for its fast bowlers with regards to the form they are going to play. This will also help them prepare properly and be in a groove so to say. Given the nature of each form, the fast bowlers are better suited to playing in the tests as it does not place too much demand on them – they can concentrate on picking up wickets and do not need to worry about things such as run rate, over rate and so on and so forth. Right now, following are the fast bowlers that need to be looked after by the selectors and played on a rotational basis for the Indian team in the long run:

  • Varun Aaron
  • Umesh Yadav
  • Ishant Sharma
  • Mohammed Shami
  • VRV Singh
  • Ashish Nehra
  • Ashok Dinda
  • Pankaj Singh
  • MS Gony
  • Sudeep Tyagi
  • Parvinder Awana
  • Mohit Sharma

Some younger bowlers need to be kept in observation and made ready to step in as and when the need arises.

  • Abu Nechim
  • Abid Nabi
  • Chama Milind
  • Ishwar Pandey
  • Rahul Shukla
  • Anureet Singh
  • Siddharth Kaul
  • Prashant Parameswaran
  • Pawan Suyal
  • Shardul Thakur
  • HS Sharath
  • Veer Pratap Singh

As far as the one day games and T20 games are concerned, the Indian team will be better served if it could use the various seam bowlers around the country who are good with the bat. With the flat-as-tabletop wickets for the limited overs games nowadays the seam bowling allrounders are better suited to contribute because of thir capabilities with the bat and their ability as well as propensity to contain with the ball. Some worthy examples are Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Joginder Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni and Shrikant Wagh and Rishi Dhawan among the newer names.

Benefits of rotation system

The biggest benefit of the rotation system will be that all the quicker bowlers will know their roles and be able to prepare and perform accordingly. They should also be encouraged to play provincial or club cricket in countries such as Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand so that they earn well and learn well, too. If possible the fast bowlers in India should be desisted from playing in any limited overs cricket so that they can be preserved.

Similarly, the bowling allrounders should be asked to play as much as limited overs cricket as possible so that they learn their craft properly. They should also play overseas, especially in the 4 countries mentioned already. The board should also try recruiting a physio and a strength and fitness trainer for the fast bowlers specifically for the fast bowler from either one of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England with some experience in handling fast bowlers. Basically, the solutions are all there – it is only a question of taking them.