INDIAN pace bowler Varun Aaron is relishing the chance to play for Durham.
The 24-year-old has joined the county as a replacement for Aussie John Hastings, who has left to play for Chennai Super Kings in the Champions Trophy.
Aaron is available for the LV County Championships games at home to Northants this week and the trip to Warwickshire next week.
“I’m really excited - looking forward to playing in the last game here and the last one in Birmingham. I just want us to finish on a high,” said the bowler, who impressed with his pace in India’s Test series defeat to England.
He was at Lord’s last week to meet the squad as Durham won against Middlesex to seal Division One survival with two games to spare.
“It was Durham’s first win at Lord’s since 1996, so I’m sure it was sweet for the guys,” added Aaron. “It’s great to be around them. They are a great bunch of guys and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.
“I’m just going to do what I do best and I’ll hopefully contribute well for the team.”
Aaron now has three Test caps for India, having played in two matches against England this summer.
“The Test matches taught me a lot,” he added. “I got this offer to play two more matches before the end of the season and I thought ‘why not?’.
“I didn’t have any cricket back home, so I thought this would be a good experience.
“I’ve had four or five years with a lot of injuries, so I couldn’t play a lot of matches. I’ve had five stress fractures in six years with my back, so that kept me out of the game for a long time.
“I had a good surgery last year, so hopefully things will keep going well for me.
“I hadn’t played in England before and I thought it would be easy for the bowlers but it isn’t like that. I think playing in England is an even playing field for batsmen and bowlers.
“When the sun’s out, it’s as flat as in India but when you get a little cloud cover then it moves about.”
Sadly, there was no sun and more than a little cloud cover yesterday, when Aaron’s Durham debut was delayed a day due to persistent bad light or drizzle which prevented a ball being bowled.
Aaron was awarded his county cap in the afternoon, though.
It was announced at 3.20 that play would start at 4pm, but the murk closed in again and umpires Michael Gough and Rob Bailey decided there was no prospect of it clearing.
Northants made the trip north without skipper Stephen Peters and announced that Alex Wakely would take over the captaincy in all forms of the game next season.
All-rounder David Willey will be his vice-captain but will miss the current game through injury.
Wakely has played 190 games for Northants and was appointed captain of the team which won last season’s Twenty20 competition.
Peters led the side to promotion last season, but they have failed to win a game in Division One, losing 11 out of 14, and have already been relegated.
Durham are resting Phil Mustard for this match because of a knee problem ahead of the Royal London Cup final against Warwickshire at Lord’s on Saturday. Michael Richardson will keep wicket.