14 June 2024 last updated at 01:04 GMT
Varun Aaron impresses Lillee
Thursday 01 January 1970

Rookie Indian fast bowler Varun Aaron received a confidence booster ahead of the ODI series against England with pace legend Dennis Lillee saying that he thought the youngster had all the qualities required to succeed in international cricket.

“He first came to the MRF Pace Foundation as a 16-year-old. He has evolved as a bowler. He is an intelligent lad and he has pace,” said Lillee in Chennai on Monday. The Australian pace guru added there was no reason why Aaron cannot succeed in England in the ODIs.

Lillee said, “We had a group of young pacemen some years back such as Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, R.P. Singh and Irfan Pathan who went on to play with success for India. Similarly, we have a promising bunch of bowlers at the Foundation now and you would hear a lot more about them in the days to come.”

Asked why several Indian pacemen declined after a promising beginning — there was an alarming slump in their pace as well — Lillee answered, “Yes, I agree that their speed has dropped. The main reason for this is that they are bowling too much, playing match after match, without a break. They get injured and when they come back, they are lacking in speed,” The Hindu quoted the Australian legend as saying.

Lillee added, “Ideally, there should be a period of rest between series after which they would return to bowl with greater speed and accuracy. And the injuries need to be managed well. Given the volume of cricket, India must have a pool of pacemen. “There are also occasions when a bowler does not have the physical strength to clock 145 plus consistently. He could bowl the odd quick ball or an occasional sharp spell after which his pace declines.”

Looking at India's 4-0 defeat at the hands of England in the Test series, Lillee said, “I said the contest between the Indian batsmen and the English pacemen would decide the series and it happened that way. The English pace attack, among the best England has had in this era, won it hands down, by exploiting the conditions to the hilt. England, now, is the undisputed No. 1 in Tests,” he said.

“The senior Indian batsmen put up a fight at least, but the younger lot disappointed.” He added that the collapse of the Indian batting adversely impacted the mindset of the bowlers. “There was a lot of negativity in the Indian approach,” Lillee said.

Asked about Zaheer Khan's persistent injury problems, Lillee said, Zaheer, almost 33, was not getting any younger.

Shifting his attention to Australian cricket, Lillee said a diverse panel of experts has recommended comprehensive changes to the way cricket is played and administered down under. “What you are getting to read about is little. There is much more than that.”

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