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Why the Indian cricket team has put its heart in Yo- Yo tests

The method in theseYo- Yo tests is that Indian cricket team puts ‘fitness first’ and makes this a precondition for selection . However, the madness lies in its application.

cricket Updated: Jun 22, 2018 09:54 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
New Delhi
Yo- Yo tests,Indian cricket team,Indian cricket team’s fitness benchmark
The Yo- Yo tests have become a major part of the selection process for the Indian cricket team.(AP)

From the team picked by MSK Prasad’s selection committee three players have been ruled out on fitness grounds - Mohammed Shami first, then Sanju Samson and now Ambati Rayudu.All beaten by the Yo- Yo tests that measure cardio capacity.

The method in these tests is Indian cricket puts ‘fitness first’ and makes this a precondition for selection .This shows India is on the ball, conscious that modern cricket requires players to be fit and performance is a result of hours spent in the net and the gym.Skill is essential , so is fitness and anyone not upto scratch on the latter score can say goodbye to ambitions of playing for India.

This is the new culture of the Indian team, scripted personally by Virat Kohli ,a super fit captain who thinks carbs are poison and working out daily is a blessing .He leads by example,sets the bar high - and is absolutely uncompromising that others meet standards that are set .

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Making fitness non negotiable shows Virat’s team is different in attitude and approach , more professional and ruthless in a way.The environment around the team is such everyone must always be on full alert because any sign of drop in intensity,the slightest hint of complacency will attract serious punishment.

In the recent past practically every player has received a dose of this tough medicine.Vice Captain Rahane couldn’t hold his slot in the team ,Pujara had to fight hard to keep his place,Karun Nair lost his despite a test triple hundred. Every fast bowler has had to sit out and Ashwin and Jadeja ,certainties for so long ,ceded their positions to youngsters Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

People missing out for failing to pass the Yo-Yo test confirm age is only a number,almost an irrelevant fact.MSD is 36 but fine because he is fit ; Sanju Samson only 23 but not good because he can’t clear the test .

While this overall method about fitness is admirable the implementation of this policy is not without an element of madness.First,it’s unclear who laid down this rule of passing the Yo-Yo tests .Does it have any official sanction,any formal approval by the BCCI? Is this a decision taken by Sourav Ganguly’s Technical Committee or by Vinod Rai’s COA? Did chairman of selectors MSK Prasad and colleagues Dewang Gandhi / Sarandeep Singh think of this ?Or has the entire thing emerged from within Team India ?

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If meeting certain fitness standards are an essential precondition for national selection then these should be clearly communicated to players in advance.Passing a yo- yo test at the last minute , after team selection,should not be reduced to an immigration stamp on the passport just before boarding a flight .

Fitness requirements / standards should be part of the annual player retainer contracts, and these tests must be held at regular intervals to track progress of individuals.That a player can take the test when convenient to him, because of a personal commercial commitment to a watch maker in Russia ,is bizarre!

(Amrit Mathur is a senior cricket writer and has been involved with IPL in official capacity)

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 09:25 IST