With Mohammed Shami failing the fitness or the ‘Yo-Yo’ test prior to India versus Afghanistan Test match in Bengaluru, it once again highlights that the side is in a no-nonsense mood when it comes to the fitness level of the squad. The question lies in how the yo-yo test has defined Indian cricket’s fitness levels?
India will be facing debutants Afghanistan in Bengaluru in the one-off Test starting today. Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini has been called as a replacement. The test has gained a lot of significance in recent time in monitoring fitness levels of players and selecting them on basis of clearing the same prior to every series.
Shami isn’t the first one to miss out on the same. So what is the yo-yo test? And what significance does it have? In this article, we look forward to everything associated with the yo-yo test.
Shastri has made the test mandatory for every series
Under coach Ravi Shastri, the yo-yo test has gained a lot of prominence. Not only it has been made mandatory, but it’s a serious affair to test players. This has been put in place as a special emphasis by the Indian think-tank on the fitness of players.
Under former head coach Anil Kumble, the players were encouraged to take their time while recovering, prove their fitness in domestic games and then make a comeback. But now under Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli, things have turned in the favour of yo-yo test, which is being considered enough to test the fitness of the player.
The message is clear, perform and then pass this test if someone wants to harbour hopes of playing at the highest level.
What is the yo-yo test?
As per reports, the yo-yo test has three cones A, B and C which are put in place prior to the test. Cones A and B are five metres apart. The distance between B and C is 20 metres. The player has to run at full pace between cones B and C and then from C to B. The timing between these laps is used to determine the fitness of the participant.
As the test goes on, the time between the beeps is decreased once every shuttle is completed. This, in turn, forces the player to increase his speed. The yo-yo test is meant to test the aerobic capacity of a player. It determines the levels of endurance and fitness besides a sharp mind.
The yo-yo test replaces the beep test, which had been in place since 2009.
Past instances when Yuvraj and Raina had failed
Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina had failed their Yo-Yo tests and were dropped from the Indian ODI side last year. Prior to that, the duo was a major part of Anil Kumble’s side and Yuvraj had played well against Australia in the ODIs in 2016, that included a ton. But under Shastri, they lost their places and till date, they have not made a return.
If Yuvi has been out of form, Raina has shown that he is still a safe bet in T20Is and passed the test ahead of the series against South Africa earlier this year. Both will look to defy age and try to have one last shot. Even youngster Washington Sundar had failed the test earlier. That shows that age has nothing to do with this.
With fitness crucial in today’s cricket, the Yo-Yo test offers a vital solution to determine what the players can offer on the field.
How complete fitness is a must in modern day
If one has to play top-level cricket regularly, the yo-yo test has become the main aspect to be judged on especially keeping the players’ fitness level in mind. With the amount of cricket taking place these days in the international and domestic scenarios, the fitness in demand is highly understandable. In the recent T20I series between Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the Asghar Stanikzai-led side had more impetus in the field, because of its fielding.
With the advent of so many global T20 Leagues in the world and things happening in quick succession, even players who are in their prime, have to answer to the demands of the modern day. Recently Dinesh Karthik had stated that the parameters are pretty much achievable. He added that only from the 17.5 m mark, it gets tougher. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had hit the 21-figure mark, with KL Rahul and Manish Pandey following suit.
All about Shami’s replacement Navdeep Saini
The pacer was in the reckoning with selectors keeping a close eye on his progress. Saini helped Delhi reach the final of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy after picking a bagful of 34 wickets. He stole the limelight in the semis against Bengal, where he picked 7 wickets in the match.
The bowler can ball in excess of 140 kph consistently and has many attributes in his game. He brings variations into play and can swing the ball. He focuses mainly on the fuller side of the good length and can surprise batsmen with precise yorkers.
Further, a key feature of his bowling is that he can reverse swing the ball, which he used extensively in this edition of Ranji Trophy. The 25-year-old pacer has 96 wickets in 31 first-class games. He had earned a call-up to the India A side against South Africa in 2017 and picked 7 wickets in 2 matches.
He was selected in the Duleep Trophy and also for India A side that took on New New Zealand A. He made it to Irani Trophy and Deodhar Trophy as well.