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Ranji Trophy 2023-24 – Varun Aaron to wrap up red-ball career after ongoing season

Varun Aaron has decided to make Jharkhand’s ongoing Ranji Trophy fixture against Rajasthan his final red-ball game. Aaron, 34, will continue playing white-ball cricket for the time being and will take a call on his future in those formats ahead of the next domestic season. For Jharkhand, who are out of the running for a spot in the quarter-finals, this will be the last game of the Ranji season.

Aaron, one of India’s fastest bowlers at his prime, told ESPNcricinfo, “I have been playing red-ball cricket since 2008. Since I bowled fast, I picked up a number of injuries. I understand now that my body won’t allow me to continue bowling fast in red-ball cricket, so I have decided to quit.

“This might be my last game in front of my family and the people of Jamshedpur, because we don’t often play white-ball games here [Keenan Stadium]. I had started my career here, so this is quite emotional for me.”

He made his first-class debut in 2008 in a Ranji Trophy Plate League game against Jammu and Kashmir at home in Ranchi, and picked up two wickets in each innings. His pace attracted attention, and he soon made his international debut, in an ODI against England at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011. A month later, he made his Test debut too, against West Indies at the same venue.

“Pace is my favourite thing while bowling. Whenever I bowl, my only focus is to bowl as fast as I can. But you need to understand your body too”

Varun Aaron

Overall, he played nine Tests (18 wickets at 52.61) and nine ODIs (11 wickets at 38.09) in an India career that ended in 2015. Injuries didn’t help Aaron, as he pointed out, with a series of stress fractures in the back and the legs putting him out of action periodically. In all, he played 65 first-class games, and picked up 168 wickets at 33.74.

“Pace is my favourite thing while bowling,” Aaron said. “Whenever I bowl, my only focus is to bowl as fast as I can. But you need to understand your body too.”

Aaron, a product of the MRF Pace Foundation, is expected to return there and helm a project that will scout for fast bowlers around the country and work with them to bowl fast.

“I am part of a project called ‘Pace bowler talent hunt’ at MRF. We will be working with young fast bowlers from around India,” Aaron said. “Approximately 1500 bowlers have taken part in this. We are travelling around the country looking for talent and 20 boys will be chosen for further training. I am also working at the high-performance centre at MRF. I hope to give India their next fast bowler from these programmes.”

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