BCCI recently conducted the fitness tests of Team India players. For the first time, the yo-yo test was conducted on players, after they had been selected for the Indian team and it became a problem as Mohammed Shami and Ambati Rayudu were deemed unfit and replaced.
Sanju Samson, too, failed the fitness test post his selection to the India A one-day squad for the England tour.
Traditionally, the yo-yo test is conducted on players before selection, but thanks to the IPL and need to pick the limited overs squad early, so that they could go to England and have some practice before the series, the test was performed after the team had been selected.
BCCI general manager, cricket operations, Saba Karim said to The Indian Express, “It’s (Yo-Yo test) always conducted before team selection. This time the change happened because of the IPL. We have to pick the teams early because of the logistical reasons, so we couldn’t drag out players during the IPL and made them go through fitness tests. That’s why we conducted it after the IPL was over. And all the players were given enough time to prepare for that.”
“Earlier, if you see, in the case of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, the fitness tests were conducted before the team selection. It always happened like that in the past. This time, the moment the teams were announced, whether that was the India A side or Team India, the players knew that they had to undergo fitness tests. So they had enough time to prepare. That is why so many of them prepared well and got through,” Karim added.
Players were given 5 weeks of time to prepare for the fitness test, after the squad was selected on May 8. The minimum requirement to clear the Yo-Yo test is 16.1, lowest among the top cricket-playing nations. Pakistan has upped the requirement to 17.5, while other nations like Australia, South Africa, and England have set 19 as the limit.
It is learned that the trial period for a player after an unsuccessful fitness test is six weeks, which can be altered to four weeks only on the call of the team management. Injury-hit players like Mohammed Shami and Wriddhiman Saha have four weeks post recovery time to appear for the fitness test. It is likely that Shami and Saha would undergo fitness tests before the squad selection – likely in the second week of July — for the five-Test series in England.
“Shami had been sitting on the bench for almost the entire IPL. He didn’t work on his fitness. Rayudu also knew he needed to score 16.1 and he had five weeks to prepare for his fitness. Samson, too, wasn’t training during the IPL. He was just batting in the nets. Everybody knows 16.1 is the bare minimum, which is non-negotiable. It’s not hidden either,” the Board functionary said.
Indian team management also said that Saha, who suffered a broken thumb during IPL 2018, remains the first choice wicketkeeper in England for the Test series. “His day-to-day progress is monitored at the NCA. His treatment, diet; everything. He is the team management’s first-choice ‘keeper,” the source said.