Form vs Fitness: Which is more important for selection
Ahead of the all-important English summer, all the undesirable talks are about the Yo-Yo Endurance test. Some people have lambasted the employment for YO-YO fitness test as a critical measure for a player to make a cut into the Indian team irrespective of their forms, while others have strongly supported the process.
The latest victims of the Yo-Yo test are Indian pacer Mohammad Shami and inform CSK's IPL hero Ambati Rayudu and India's fine young wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson.
Mohammad Shami failed the test and was dropped from the one-off historic Test match against Afghanistan in Bengaluru.
After a sensational IPL, scoring 600 plus runs and at an average of above 40, Ambati Rayudu was selected in India's limited overs' squad to tour England. Recently, he got dropped from the squad once he failed to clear the minimum cut off score of 16.1 in the Yo-Yo Endurance test.
The shock though comes from the fact that India's 23 old promising talent Sanju Samson failed to make the cut into the India A side after failing the Yo-Yo test.
What is the YO-YO test?
The Yo-Yo Endurance test is mandatory for all Indian players to get into the national team. The players sprint continuously up and down between two points that are 20m apart and have a short time to respire between each run.
The maximum time that can be taken for each round is indicated using beep sounds. The time for each subsequent round is less than the previous one.
If a player fails to reach the end line before the beep goes, he gets the first warning to run faster and if he is not able to catch up with the beep within the next two cycles, the test ends.
The Indian cricket team has set a minimum score of 16.1 to pass the test and get into the team, while teams like Pakistan, New Zealand, and West Indies have a higher cutoff score to pass.
The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Washington Sundar have also failed to clear the test before. Manish Pandey and, not surprisingly India's skipper Virat Kohli have the maximum score in this test.
Team India's Head Coach Ravi Shastri during his recent press conference advocated the Yo-Yo test. "I think it's a combination of both ability and fitness. If you are fit, you can enhance that ability. That is one thing that has been emphasized on while designing the Yo-Yo fitness test. And it is here to stay. Whoever thinks it's a one-off thing, he is sadly mistaken and that person can take a walk."
He further added "The philosophy is simple. You pass the test, you play. You don't, you sit. So, this is not going to go anywhere. The captain leads from the front, the selectors, the management are on the same page. And the boys have responded extremely well".
While people have been debating whether Cricketing skills or fitness, which is more important to get into the national team, the team management is stubborn and very clear.
The arguments of whether we will never have players like Sehwag, Inzamam, Chris Gayle, who would probably not clear the tests but have gifted natural ability to be one of the best in the business, are very valid.
However, only should note the fact that the squads are not selected based on the fitness of the players, but only on the merit of their current form and talent. However, the fitness of the selected squad is examined to ensure that among the inform players, the fittest get to represent the team on the field.
The Yo-Yo Endurance tests will certainly improve the standards of Indian cricket in the years to come. The game has changed over the years and it is now more fast paced and the trend is only increasing.
The fielding aspect is given equal importance as batting and bowling skills. The youngsters who are passionate about playing cricket for team India would certainly inculcate the habit of being fit into their daily routines.
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