Indian pace veteran Varun Aaron praised star pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying that he is gold for Team India.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a star for India during the India-Pakistan clash at Asia Cup 2022. He took 4 wickets for 26 runs. He has been the leading T20I wicket-taker for India this year with 24 scalps.
“There is no doubt over Bhvuneshwar at all. He just had a period where he was dealing with injuries and he could not wrap his head around it. He was not coming back soon enough. Obviously, when you are injured and out for a while, you are frustrated because you want to play the best level of cricket,” said Aaron in an exclusive interview with ANI.
“He was doing the same thing for us before he was injured. Now he is coming back and is doing the same job for us, two overs in the start and then two later. Bhuvi is gold for the Indian bowling attack. I am not surprised at all at this. When you are injured you need some time to comeback. That is what has happened to him and now he is back in form,” he added.
Aaron praised Indian pacers for their fine performance against Pakistan, who for the first time in the nation’s T20I cricket history took all ten wickets in an innings.
“It was a brilliant performance by pacers. Especially Hardik Pandya coming in as fourth seamer and what he did was unbelievable. His breakthroughs were key. He bowled very bravely and went for wickets. Pacers have been doing well over a long period of time. They have got a lot of experience in these conditions since two IPLs were held here and these same bowlers were playing in it. It is going to be a good tournament for India and the fast bowlers,” he said.
On Virat Kohli’s run of form, Aaron said that everyone is judging the star batter as per mighty standards set by him and he opined that Virat is doing well.
“Even though he is not having a typical Virat run, he is still among the top five batters of the Indian team. Every player goes through this. I feel it is on us to keep patience and back him. It will just a matter of time before he is back in form,” he added.
Since his last international century, Virat has represented India in 69 matches and scored 2,589 runs across 83 innings at an average of 34.06. He has hit 24 half-centuries across all formats since his last international ton.
2022 in particular has been very tough for Virat.
This year, Virat has played only five T20Is for his side, across which he has scored 116 runs at a subpar average of 23.20. His best score in the format this year is 52. Across all formats this year, he has represented India in 17 matches and across 20 innings, he had been able to score only 511 runs at a sub-par average of 25.55. Only four half-centuries have come off his bat, with the best score of 79.
The pace veteran praised star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, saying that he has come out of his time battling injuries really well.
“He has spent a lot of time out of the game. It helped him figure out his bowling action, made it more efficient and puts less pressure on his back. He is bowling better than he did earlier. There was never a question on his batting,” he added.
Aaron said that Pandya led Gujarat Titans from the front. “He was always calm. He was always there for his teammates,” he added.
Pandya returned to his fully fit avatar in 2022 after dealing with fitness issues over the years to lead Gujarat Titans to their maiden India Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season.
Throughout the season, Pandya led his side from the front with his all-round show, scoring 487 runs at an average of 44.27 in 15 games and hitting four fifties. He also took eight wickets for his side, including a match-winning 3/17 in the final.
Since then, he has shown exceptional form for India in T20Is and has played many crucial knocks, be it as an aggressor or an anchor. In T20Is this year, Pandya has scored 314 runs across 13 innings in 14 matches at an average of 34.88.
He has scored one half-century and various other crucial knocks. He has also taken 11 wickets for his side in 14 matches with best bowling figures of 4/33.
In three ODIs as well, he has hit 100 runs in two innings across three matches with an average of 50, with one fifty and the best score of 71. He has also taken six wickets across these three matches, with best figures of 4/24.
The pace veteran praised Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, saying, “He is a seasoned captain. He has taken Mumbai Indians to so many IPLs. He has proved his worth and we all know how good he is as captain. When you have a great team, captain, captain and coach working well, you get the results.”
Aaron feels that India is a strong contender for Asia Cup 2022, though he said that Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also have great T20I teams.
“I feel India is a contender in any tournament we play. There is no question about our dominance in T20Is. The way we have been playing cricket and the kind of talent pool we have, is second to none. India is a favourite by a huge margin. Cricket sometimes boils down to a given day and how well a team plays well. If we play consistent cricket, we should bring the trophy. Though Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka are good teams,” he said.
Aaron is extremely happy with India’s massive talent pool, especially in fast bowling. The bowler opines that it is good for Indian cricket.
“The guys who are playing are always on their toes and do not take their place for granted. Now, there are more robust fast bowlers who bowl quick, and bowl different variations. IPL helps a lot, since it was the only tournament happening properly during COVID-19. Domestic cricket had taken a backseat. Having fast bowling pool is always great as due to the nature of what they do, they tend to break down on and off. Arsdheep and Avesh are doing some heavylifting right now in absence of guys like Bumrah and Shami. It is good for Indian cricket,” said the pace veteran.
Aaron has changed his domestic cricket team from Jharkhand to Baroda after 18 years of representing the former.
Asked about his thoughts heading into the new season, Aaron said, “I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a welcome change. I have represented Jharkhand for 18 years and I loved it. It is great to challenge yourself once in a while and go to a new team and culture. I will enjoy the expectations placed on me. The team wants to win trophies, they have a great coach in Dav Whatmore. Obviously, Baroda is taking steps to win trophies. And you want to be part of such set-ups and when you are a part of it, your game goes strength to strength. I think it was the right time for the change.” (ANI)