Varun Aaron comes across as a chilled-out 22-year-old, not given to moments of panic that briefly gripped him while he batted in the last over of his debut Test against the West Indies in Mumbai last month. And with a history of back problems, he has learnt to take in his stride injuries that are the lot of a fast bowler.
Last year, after being congratulated on remaining injury-free throughout the 2009-10 season, Aaron had responded with a big smile: "Yeah, injury-free and wicket-free." So it was not a complete surprise when the young pacer told HT on Saturday afternoon that he wasn't exactly "disappointed" at missing the Test series in Australia starting later this month with a stress reaction in his lower back.
"I would not say disappointed, but you can say I am not that happy," Aaron said, over the phone from Pune, where he joined his family on Friday after it became clear that his injury would prevent him from taking part in the final One-day International against the West Indies in Chennai on Sunday.
"There is no point is thinking about things that did not happen," Aaron added when asked if he would miss bowling on fast wickets in Australia.
A bone scan in Mumbai on Thursday showed a stress reaction on Aaron's lower back. "It's on L5 (the bottom-most lumbar vertebra)," said Aaron. Asked about his earlier injury, he said: "I had a stress fracture on L3."
"The important thing is to rest and rehab and come back stronger and fitter, maybe in time for the one-dayers in Australia," said Aaron, who will travel to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore on Monday.
Aaron said he is not sure when he can resume bowling. The limited-over leg of India's tour of Australia begins on February 1.
Experts feel a stress reaction is not too serious an injury. "It's a moderate injury and the usual recovery time is about four to six weeks," said physio Chinmoy Roy who is part of the NCA faculty and works with the Bengal team. A quick recovery will be welcomed by India, who would love to have Aaron's pace and that of fellow youngster Umesh Yadav in their armoury. And Aaron himself is eager to get back to international cricket.
"I've done a reasonably good job in whatever opportunities I've got," Aaron said about his introduction to international cricket. "Long way to go still."