No season of Indian cricket is complete without the emergence of a false pace Messiah. The routine is so well-known now that it might as well be etched in the Ten Commandments: “Thou Shalt Worship A False God.”
Behold the lengthening list of prophets: Munaf Patel; L. Balaji; Irfan Pathan; A. Nehra; R.P. Singh; Ishant Sharma; S. Sreesanth; V.R.V. Singh…When they first emerged, all boasted talents usually seen in men from across the border. Sheer pace; killer yorkers; unbelievable swing — all possilbe reincarnations of previous greats like Akram and Waqar. And then, one by one, they fell away, either because they couldn’t maintain the fitness level required at the international level (V.R.V. Singh, e.g.), or because they don’t want to expend the effort (Munaf Patel, e.g.), or because the system discards them (Irfan Pathan, e.g.), or because they decide they want to become a “smart” bowler like Zaheer Khan (briefly, Ishant).
Well, meet the latest shiny new guru on the street: Varun Aaron, from the land of Jharkand. Watch this video of his action and his speed, if only so you can tell others why you believed in him in the first place:
And so far, the ritual is going according to script: We have evidence that he regularly clocks above 140km/h. We have a quote in Cricinfo wherein he swears never to compromise on pace. We also have a light first-class record that suggests he hasn’t been truly tested by the rigors of the game (though he did impress on a recent trip to Australia). I can’t believe anymore. Why can’t India groom fast bowlers? Is it because we just don’t care about the bowlers, compared to the batsmen? Or is it because we don’t appreciate that fast bowlers are delicate creatures that need to be extensively trained and looked after? What is it?