ndia and Rajasthan Royals star Varun Aaron joined the Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE’s Xmas Camp for a special virtual interaction with the kids taking part at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium on Monday, 21 December, revealing that Virat Kohli is his favourite captain to play under.
Regarded as one of the quickest bowlers India has ever produced, Aaron has represented India in both test and limited overs cricket.
He therefore had a great deal of knowledge to share as he spoke via Zoom to the Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE kids of both age groups (U7-U9 and U10-U16) at the Xmas Camp; from his own experiences as a youngster falling in love with the game to India’s recent collapse against Australia.
“I feel it’s important for all you guys to be guided in the right direction at a young age, to have the correct attitude towards the game,” said Aaron, explaining that his own burgeoning career was shaped by Australia great Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation – a similarly specialist, innovative camp in India to the Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE in Dubai.
During the IPL 2020, Rajasthan Royals utilised The Sevens Stadium to play practice matches ahead of the start of the tournament and Aaron praised the facilities that the academy uses.
“I’ve not seen that kind of a set up [at the Sevens Stadium] before and I think you guys are very lucky to be practicing cricket and learning the game where you are,” he said.
When it was time to take questions from the floor, five-year-old all-rounder Atharv was the first to interact with Varun, asking who his favourite captain is to play under.
“My favourite captain is Virat Kohli because I’ve really enjoyed playing under him,” replied Aaron.
“He’s a good captain for fast bowlers because as a fast bowler you want to bowl fast and express yourself on the field and he is somebody who will readily let you do that because he enjoys fast bowling as well and he enjoys playing the game aggressively.”
Atharv had the room in hysterics with his follow up question, asking Aaron what it would feel like to have been bowled out for 36 – as India were in their first Test against Australia last weekend.
Aaron answered with superb humour, saying: “I can tell you it wouldn’t have felt good.”
Nivaan – also from the U7-U9 age group – wondered who Aaron’s most difficult opponent was, with the 31-year-old naming fellow Rajasthan Royals player Steve Smith due to his unique style.
“In Test cricket, it’s Steve Smith because he’s just a bit weird. He does some weird things that other batsmen don’t,” said Aaron, who also explained to the older group how to keep calm when things aren’t going your way.
He said: “When you’re trying to do your best, you are going to mess up at some stage. Every bowler in the world has messed up and you should know that if you’re out there and you’ve had a bad over, you’re not the only person to have had a bad over.
“The thing is, you should know your action and know what works for you really well. It’s really key to sit down with your coach and ask him, ‘Coach, what do you think works for me and what do you think doesn’t work for me?’ and you should always have one or two cues that you take into the match in case something goes wrong. That’s how you stay centred, by having an answer to the problem.”
Through its Xmas Camp, Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE – which officially operates under the banner of inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals – is providing a fun-packed week of cricket for boys and girls aged 5-16 looking to Play the Royals Way.