BCCI makes yo-yo tests compulsory criterion for Team India selection
What’s the story?
In an unprecedented move aimed at making Team India one of the fittest sides in world cricket, the BCCI has made it mandatory for cricketers to pass the 'yo-yo' endurance test in order to find a place in the national side. The rule will apply to all cricketers, including those who play just Test cricket, in order to maintain consistent fitness standards across formats.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, while speaking to The Indian Express, conceded that the rules applied on the cricketers will be stringent and 'non-negotiable'.
“The captain, coach and chief selector, along with the other members of the selection committee in consultation with the support staff, have set the parameters. The fitness parameters set by the team management for athletes to be eligible for selection are non-negotiable,” he was quoted as saying.
In case you didn’t know…
The archaic yo-yo tests, used by athletes over the world as a measure of endurance, recently found its way back into cricketing lexicon when Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, pillars of India’s middle order in the late 2000s, reportedly failed tests conducted at the NCA and were subsequently omitted from the national side.
The yo-yo tests succeeded the now-defunct beep tests that were used by the Indian side before 2012, around the time when the juniors versus seniors debate, with respect to fitness and fielding, first emerged.
The heart of the matter
Johri said that all current players have been informed about the new reforms, and have been asked to adhere to the guidelines set by the team management. He also mentioned that the current level of the test will be a basic one, requiring players to pass a minimum benchmark score of 16.1.
For those who fail to meet the required tests, ample time will be given to get back to peak fitness, and take tests at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Interestingly, Ashish Nehra, who turned 38 this year, passed the gruelling fitness test and found his way back into the national side. Others like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh reportedly flunked the endurance tests, thus missing out on spots for the limited-overs leg of the Australia series.
Johri added that all players part of the Indian set-up, currently playing T20Is against Australia, have successfully completed the tests, while those aspiring for a berth in the side will have to prove their worth by underdoing routine checks at the NCA before the Test series against Sri Lanka.
While opinion may differ on the consistency of such tests and the need to check cricketers on various other parameters, the introduction of a standardised format for everyone to adhere to clearly indicates that the BCCI means serious business when it comes to fitness, especially in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup.
It isn't difficult to infer that veterans with creaking bones, hoping for a return to the national side, would now have to ace the fitness tests, regardless of their form in domestic cricket. It also marks a move from an Indian side, formerly built on talent and reputation, to a team of well-crafted individuals whose fitness standards closely match those of elite international sportsmen.