Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar believes ‘cricket fitness should be paramount’ slamming the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to make Yo-Yo and DEXA fitness tests mandatory for selection into the national squad. Notably, the BCCI recently announced that Yo-Yo and DEXA fitness tests will be mandatory for individuals to pass if they are to get a place in the national team.
In his column for Mid-Day, Gavaskar recalled that he had suffered from a condition called ‘shin splits' which would make the shin muscle seize, making it painful to walk. However, he always prioritized his ability to bat longer.
“Ever since I have been a schoolboy cricketer, I have suffered from a condition called shin splits where doing even a couple of laps of ground would make the muscles around shin seize up and make it painful to walk. I told them to drop me if they were going to pick the eleven based on who ran the most. Fitness is an individual thing and there is no such thing as one size fits all,” Gavaskar wrote.
The legendary batter further claimed that Quick bowlers need a different level of fitness than spinners, wicketkeepers need an even higher level and batters perhaps the least. "Cricket fitness should be prime consideration,” added Gavaskar. Meanwhile, the inventor of the Yo-Yo Test, the Danish sports scientist Dr Jens Bangsbo has opined that the administration needs to be extra careful while using the Yo-Yo test as a sole criterion for selection.
“You have to be always careful in using it as a selection criterion in sports like cricket. It's not bad, though, to have a lower level (16.1 is a lower spectrum) as everybody needs to have a minimum level of fitness. The test is a tool to measure an individual’s capacity. What is more important is to use this as a tool to measure and get better. This is useful to find out how we train and how to improve the training to get the players fitter. This is how it is used by football clubs and that’s the constructive way,” Mr Bangsbo was quoted saying by the Indian Express.