Declined county offers to play Duleep and Vijay Hazare Trophy, reveals Varun Aaron

Declined county offers to play Duleep and Vijay Hazare Trophy, reveals Varun Aaron

no photo



In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, Varun Aaron has revealed that he had to let go of offers from a couple of counties as it clashed with the Indian domestic schedule. Earlier, he also had to give the first part of the English domestic summer a miss due to the Indian Premier League.

Although it doesn’t come up to the public eye as one story of success and inspiration, Varun Aaron’s fighting spirit and the attitude of not giving up when the chips are down are known to everyone close to the Jharkhand pacer. After seeing a career, ravaged by impact injuries, he had to put in insane levels of preparation into his game and to make his case stronger, he found himself in Leicester for part of the 2018 county season. 

That happened on the back of his non-selection in any of the IPL teams despite having a decent season with Kings XI Punjab in the previous year. That hurt him, but it eased out when his six-wicket haul helped Leicestershire to secure their first win against Glamorgan in 22 Championship games. 

After that season, it was understandable that Aaron would make it to any of the counties for the domestic season, and when he started practising with Steffan Jones in Somerset, the speculation grew. However, in order to make himself available for the Indian domestic cricket, Aaron decided to give the lucrative offers a miss.

“I was in England for a while but I couldn’t play this year’s county because like last year I could put in my name before the season started because I wasn’t playing the IPL. This year, I was playing the IPL so I wasn’t sure when I would be available. So only after the IPL got over, I put in my name and by then it was a bit too late because most of the counties had already finalized their teams,” Aaron told SportsCafe in an exclusive interview.

"I mean I potentially could have played towards the end of August-September, I had offers from a couple of counties, but then because of the Duleep Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy starting early this year, it was not possible.”

Aaron will be back in competitive cricket with the Duleep Trophy game, starting August 17, and will represent Priyank Panchal-led India Red. However, one of the pertinent questions that has had its presence among Indian cricket followers is - does Duleep Trophy serve any purpose anymore? 

It had a role when Ranji Trophy was played on zonal lines and players got no more than three or four first-class matches. But, now the Ranji Trophy has evolved beyond the intra-zonal stage and has now become a truly national affair with promotion and relegation, and with four participating groups. Zonal systems have also ceased to exist which means the BCCI award the best performers for the Indian domestic season curtain-raiser. However, the Jharkhand tearaway quickly disagreed adding that it is still one of the premier tournaments and can be effective for selected players.

“I don’t think so because at the end of the day, the only team with which you are really familiar with is the state team because you play with guys you’ve grown up playing with for the past 10-12 years. If you see historically, Duleep Trophy has always been one of the premier tournament where the selectors are looking to pick guys for the national team or the India ‘A’ side. 

“And I feel this way, at least, there is still a lot of relevance to winning matches because if you win games you get to play the final, which means you get one more game to perform so I am sure everybody looks at it that way. And it’s great because this year we are playing the tournament with the red ball which is good for both batsmen and bowlers. So yeah, I think this year it is going to be a very tough, highly competitive Duleep Trophy.”

“My main aim is to win matches for whichever team I am playing for irrespective of whether it’s the Duleep Trophy or Jharkhand or a county team or for an IPL franchise. I feel like if you win a team game, there’s a way to move up to where you want to. My ultimate aim is to play for India and win them games but I am glad with the way last year worked out because I could win games for Jharkhand, win games for the county and win for Rajasthan Royals. So that is my primary focus, just to win games. And the only way to win games is, obviously, get wickets.”

Apart from Aaron, India Red also has the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Ronit More in the team and the former duo, being the most experienced players in the team, will have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders. Aaron said his camaraderie with Unadkat is since his Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals days, and will help him gel well.

“Jaydev and I share a great relationship, we used to play for KKR together, we played last year’s Deodhar Trophy together and we played for Rajasthan Royals together as well. We get along really well and we both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. So we can always give cues to each to improve during the games and it is always good to have someone familiar around,” the pacer added.

The Duleep Trophy will start with a game between India Blue and India Green, led by Shubman Gill and Faiz Fazal, on August 17 while India Red will start their campaign on August 23 against Blue.

Get updates! Follow us on

Open all