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Rahul Dravid says no to yo-yo tests for India U-19 team

The India U-19 coach believes that players at the junior levels should focus more on honing their batting and bowling skills.

News 07 Nov 2017, 14:57 IST


Dravid is the coach of both the India A and U-19 teams

What’s the story?

The Indian U-19 team management, led by Rahul Dravid, is not keen on using ‘yo-yo tests’ as a parameter for selection of junior team players, and won’t be using the system ahead of the team’s tour to Malaysia for the upcoming Youth Asia Cup.

“The Indian team trainer had thrown the idea of having Yo-Yo test for India under-19 team but [Rahul] Dravid made it clear that it should not be needed for junior cricket,” an official at the NCA told The Indian Express.

In case you didn’t know…

The yo-yo tests are a variation of the beep tests that are used to test an athlete’s aerobic endurance fitness levels. 

Each player of the senior team needs to pass the yo-yo test to merit selection in the senior side, with the BCCI having put 19.2 as the minimum score to pass the test. 

The senior team, in order to maintain high levels of fitness, has been off-loading veterans based on their performance in the test, with the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh failing to make the cut to the national side due to their below-par performance in the tests they underwent at the NCA.

The heart of the matter

The team management is trying to give more important to skill rather than fitness at the junior level, as the youngsters at the U-19 levels, in their teens, should be honing their batting and bowling skills to moul.

“At this age, players should improve their skills. Fitness is important but if he can score runs and take wickets, that should be the parameter of selecting a player”, the source added.

What’s next?

The Himanshu Rana-led Indian team will aim to continue their thumping run in Asia Cup titles, having won all three previous editions. The tournament will take place from 9th to 20th November.

Author’s take

While fitness is important in any form of sport, the U-19 mark is a juncture from where a player can really take-off in his career, and build on their existing set of skills. Young and fresh, U-19 players should be given the right guidance to develop their raw talent, instead of adding undue pressure of fitness on them.

The Dravid-led management seems to have taken the right call: Imagine making a 17-year-old Prithvi Shaw running around cones to prove his selection, instead of getting the freedom to continue his rich run of form. At the international level, with neck-to-neck competition, fitness standards need to be high. At the U-19 level, however, talent should remain the most important criterion.

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