Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has opined that the Indian team's fitness standards are not up to the mark. He feels teams like South Africa, Australia, and England have fitter players than the current Indian squad.
Speaking on his YouTube channel after India's defeat against Australia in the first T20I on Tuesday, Butt shed some light on the fielding performance of the Men in Blue and said:
"Indian players are the highest-paid cricketers in the world. They play the maximum number of matches. You tell me why are they not the fittest? If we compare their body structure, teams like South Africa, Australia and England are much better."
"I would even say some Asian teams are ahead of India. Some Indian players are overweight. I think they need to work on that because they are brilliant cricketers."
Butt admitted that there are some players like Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja who have set high fitness standards. However, he believes that the likes of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant can further strengthen the Indian team by improving their fitness and fielding.
The former cricketer stated:
"I don't know if others will talk about this or not but in my view, Team India's fitness is not ideal. You remove Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and two-three others, but apart from them, fitness of others is not their strongest point. Some experienced players are not at that level where they should be in terms of fielding."
"Virat Kohli has set an example for others in fitness. Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya are so fit. They have outstanding fitness, but there are players like Rohit Sharma, even KL Rahul looked lethargic today, you know, Rishabh Pant. If they become fit, they will become more dangerous cricketers."
"Lack of pace is a serious concern for India"- Salman Butt lists two major issues of the Men in Blue ahead of T20 World Cup 2022
In the same YouTube video, Salman Butt mentioned that the Indian team's fielding is not the same without Ravindra Jadeja. He pointed out how KL Rahul and Axar Patel dropped two important catches on Tuesday night and said:
"There are question marks over India's fielding. In Jadeja's absence, India's fielding in the deep is not the same. They are dropping catches as well."
Discussing India's preparations for the T20 World Cup, Butt added that along with fielding, the team's fast-bowling department is also a major issue. He was not happy with the way Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel used slower deliveries to take wickets in T20I cricket.
"Lack of pace is a serious concern for India. First, they don't have the pace and then they bowl slower ones. You are already getting hit for bowling slow and then you bowl even slower," Butt concluded.
After an underwhelming performance in the first game, India will hope to bounce back in the second fixture on Friday, September 23, in Nagpur.
Should the Indian players work on their fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022? Share your views in the comments box below.