The Indian squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka was announced recently and a surprising revelation came when Yuvraj Singh was missing from the list. There were speculations that the left-hander will surely make the cut but the selectors opted to keep him out of the squad.
Another cricketer who was expected to be picked was Suresh Raina. But he too wasn’t considered for the Sri Lankan tour. The fans didn’t take it really well as two of the crowd favorite southpaws were omitted and the selection committee received criticism from all parts of the country.
While poor form was being deemed as the reason for Yuvraj’s exclusion, the real reason is something that would come as a surprise to many. As per a BCCI official, Yuvraj and Raina failed to pass the ‘Yo-Yo’ endurance test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before the selection process.
“The current team think tank, coach Ravi Shastri, skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad have made it clear that fitness standards are non-negotiable. On an average, the Australian cricketers score 21 in Yo-Yo test. Here Virat, Ravindra Jadeja, Manish Pandey regularly hit that score while others are either touching 19.5 or is hitting above that score,” a BCCI official told PTI.
“In an earlier era, when the traditional beep test was in vogue, the Indian players of the 1990’s would have scored around 16 to 16.5 barring a few like Mohammed Azharuddin, Robin Singh or Ajay Jadeja. But now it’s different as the skipper himself is hitting the benchmark, which the Australian cricket team sets it,” he added.
What’s a ‘Yo-Yo’ Test?
It’s a fitness test procedure used by sporting teams around the world to test the endurance of players. In a software-based process, cones are placed 20 meters apart to mark out two lines. A player stands behind one of these lines and starts running between these 2 lines when instructed and turns when certain recorded beeps signal.
The speed increases with each passing minute and if the player misses the target at any point of time, he has to run to the line, turn and need to try to catch up with the pace within two more beeps. If the player does not catch up with the pace between 2 ends, the test is abandoned.
There is a certain scoring also done for the ‘Yo-Yo’ test and the acceptable score currently in the Indian team is 19.5. Yuvraj and Raina didn’t clear the cut-off score where the former barely managed a score of 16.
There is an increased focus on fitness in Indian cricket in the modern era with the skipper Virat Kohli leading with example. He has a score of around 21 that shows that he is the fittest of the lot. If Yuvraj and Raina desire to make comebacks, they will have to put in the hard yards to achieve the required fitness.