BCCI introduces new mandatory fitness rule for Team India
Keeping an eye on the growing physical demands of international cricket, the BCCI has introduced mandatory 2-km time trials to measure speed and endurance levels in its training programme for Team Indian players. According to a report in The Indian Express, it will be mandatory for the BCCI's contracted players and those vying for a place in the Indian team to clear this trial.
"The Board felt that the current fitness standard played a huge role in getting our fitness to the next level. It is important to take our fitness level to another level now. The time trial exercise will help us to compete even better. The Board will keep updating the standards every year," a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
According to the new norm, the benchmark for fast bowlers will be 8 minutes and 15 seconds. For batsmen, wicket-keepers, and spinners, the standard will be 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Elite athletes are expected to complete 2 km in around 6 minutes, and amateurs in 15 minutes. It will be a key criterion in selection for the T20 World Cup later this year.
The report adds that players who have returned from the Test series in Australia have been exempted from taking part in the trials. Players in contention for spots in the white-ball series against England (5 T20Is and 3 ODIs) will undergo the test. It is likely that the test will be carried out in the months of February, June, and August/September.
Former Indian cricket team trainer Ramji Srinivasan said a time trial is better than the yo-yo test besides terming it to be "most effective". "It is more functional towards cricket. This will test speed, threshold zones, how you plan your running pace. And you can't cheat as this is time-based," he said.
The minimum requirement for the yo-yo test will remain at 17.1. Notably, the yo-yo test was introduced a few years ago as a benchmark for fitness in the Indian cricket team. Many former first-team players throughout the years, including Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, and Sanju Samson had failed the test. The players were then left out of the squad.
The yo-yo test is a maximal aerobic endurance fitness test that involves running between two markers (B and C), placed 20 meters apart. A beep indicates the players to run. The players have to run towards the other marker (C) with the first beep, while they must return back (B) before the second and third beep. The marker (A) is set for recovery.