India’s ODI debutants raring to go
speaks to two young players ready for the English challenge
‘Ready to play at the
Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion in the one-day squad — in place of the injured Virender Sehwag —
wasn't surprising. The 23-year-old
Mumbai batsman has done brilliantly in
domestic cricket, with 4,673 runs in 48
matches at an amazing average of
67.72, a conversion rate of 17 centuries
and 18 fifties.
Your reaction at being selected for
the Indian One Day International
I was not surprised, because I was
scoring runs. I was sure that I would
get selected sooner or later. I did well
in the International Cricket Council's
Emerging Nations tournament in
Australia, so I was quite confident.
How will you prepare for the England
tour? It is not an easy place for bats-
men. We saw how top Indian players
struggled in the Test series.
ODIs are a completely different chal-
lenge. I have toured the country before,
so I know a bit about the conditions
that I will encounter there. Still, it will
be a challenge for me to perform in
England. If I get a chance, I hope to do
Are you confident about playing at
the international level?
Absolutely! I am ready to play at the
international level; whenever I get an
opportunity I will perform my best.
Indian batsmen struggle against
bouncers, especially in countries like
England, South Africa and Australia.
How confident are you playing the
I don’t think about things like what
the opposition is planning and
whether they plan to bowl bouncers at
me. I prepare myself according to the
conditions I encounter in the match.
You have been batting consistently
well in domestic cricket for the last
three-four seasons. What is the secret
of your success?
I don’t get overconfident. I never take
my place in the squad for granted,
because I treat every match as impor-
tant. I always believe that no one is
bigger than the game, so I look to work
hard and improve myself everyday. I
give 100 percent to the team’s cause.
My preparations are always the same.
You have a good conversion rate when
it comes to scoring hundreds. How
Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane is one of the
top scorers in domestic cricket
important is it for a young batsman to
play big knocks in domestic cricket and
keep reminding the selectors of your
I always try to focus. You cannot go
into a match thinking I have to get a
hundred. It is important to be in the
present and just concentrate on each
and every delivery. If you score consis-
tently, obviously, the selectors will
notice. So I always keep this in mind. I
perform well and never give anyone a
chance to complain.
How important is the Indian Premier
League for you, since quite a few play-
ers have come into the squad, purely on
their showing in the IPL?
The IPL is a very important tourna-
ment for domestic players because you
have top international players partici-
pating. You get to learn a lot from
them. When I was with the Mumbai
Indians, I learnt a lot from Sachin
), who is also my role
model. And when I moved to the
Rajasthan Royals, I got a chance to
interact with Rahul Dravid, whom I
It feels great to talk to one’s role mod-
els. I look at how they prepare them-
selves for every match, their mindset
before every game and try to pick up
‘I have never
Varun Aaron first hit headlines when he delivered the fastest ball by an Indian, clocking 95 mph, against
Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final.
Playing for the Delhi Daredevils, the
Jharkhand pacer — set to replace Ishant
Sharma in the one-day side — was impres-
sive in the fourth edition of the Indian
Premier League as well.
You were India’s star performers in the
Emerging Nations tournament in
Australia, having taken 10 wickets in four
games. How was the experience?
It was good. I learnt a lot. I have played in
the IPL, but I would rate India ‘A’ higher
than that. Although you can’t compare the
two, because Emerging Nations was a
three-day match tournament, while the
IPL is a Twenty20 tournament.
How different was it playing in Australia,
where the pitches offer no assistance to fast
To be honest, there was nothing on offer
for the fast bowlers on those wickets. All
the wickets were flat decks.
You bowled the fastest-ever delivery by an
Indian, clocking 95 mph last year. How did
it feel to break the 93 mph barrier
I didn’t realize it, because, for me, it was
just another ball that I bowled. I only real-
ized later that it happened. The guys in the
dressing room told me that I had clocked
95 mph. I was kind of happy.
How difficult is it for a fast bowler to bowl
long spells in domestic cricket, especially on
pitches that are slow and low, the hot weath-
er adding to it?
It depends on your fitness. If you work
hard on your fitness and your bowling, in
the off-season, then I don’t think you will
have a problem bowling long spells.
Is pace your main weapon?
Pace is an asset of mine, but I do concen-
trate a lot on my line and length. I am also
working on other variations, like the
bouncers and yorkers.
Why does speed thrill you so much?
Pace is one of the main things for me, but,
at the same time, it is not going to get you
anywhere. You have to maintain a good line
and length; you also got to have a good
stock ball for yourself.
Fast bowlers are rare in India. When did
it occur to you that you wanted to become a
I used to be a batsman till the age of 13.
Then, I had to take two months off for my
exams, and when I came back I took to
bowling. I realized that I was bowling at a
Varun Aaron will replace Ishant Sharma in the
upcoming One Day Internationals against England
decent pace for a 14 year old, so I thought
why not give the under-15 trials as a bowler.
I bowled decently in the trials and had a
good season at the under-15 level. Then I
got picked up by the MRF Pace Foundation
a coaching institute for fast bowlers
started bowling from thereon.
You suffered a couple of stress fractures
last year. Did you ever think of cutting down
on your pace after that?
I recovered really well from the stress
fractures. I did a lot of hard work at the
National Cricket Academy in Bangalore
with the trainers and physiotherapists. The
stress fractures healed and didn’t bother
me that much because I had them when I
was 18 or 19. When you are young, the
bone heals faster. You can see now I am
You impressed with your pace in this
year’s IPL. How was the experience?
Playing in the IPL and doing well against
good batsmen helped in building my confi-
Apart from pace, do you also possess
other variations? Nowadays, the pitches are
loaded heavily in favor of batsmen
I bowl a decent yorker and a decent
bouncer. I also cut the ball off the wicket.
So those are the deliveries I have worked
in this issue
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