Over the years, the cricketing fraternity has seen many transformations. The most significant of them is that players have started to take their fitness more seriously, to increase their longevity in the squad. The criteria that cricket has adapted to measure the fitness levels of cricketers is the ‘yo-yo test.’ The yo-yo test is a modified version of the Beep test or the Lager test and was introduced by the Danish soccer physiologist Dr Jens Bangsbo in the 1990s.
The updated yo-yo test involves shuttling over a 20-metre distance at increasing speeds. The test requires players to cover 2km distance in 8 minutes and 15 seconds by the fast bowlers, whereas 8 minutes and 30 seconds by the rest of the players.
The test is conducted using two cones that are placed at a distance of 20m, which is roughly the distance of a cricket pitch. Here, the player is required to begin from point A on a beep and reach the other end before the second beep. The player then turns around and runs back to the starting point before the third beep.
In simple words, the player is required to clear 40m distance in allocated time and within three beeps. As the level increases, the time between beeps reduces, requiring the player to gradually run faster. The mandate yo-yo parameter in the Indian cricket team is 16.5.
The Intermittent Recovery Test, or yo-yo test, as we call it, was first introduced in football, but later many other sports adapted this test to measure aerobic endurance and stamina of the players. In the Indian cricket team, it was the team's strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu, who introduced it ahead of India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2017.