First Mohammed Shami and Sanju Samson flunked the Yo-Yo test. That was followed by simmering discontent for the reason that it was probably a bit unfair on the players who had got selected in the squad on merit but were now dropped because of their fitness.
Obviously, in the modern game fitness is a very important issue but it cannot supersede your run scoring or wicket taking ability. That remains the question. A few days later, when Ambati Rayudu also failed the test and was dropped for the Indian ODI squad touring England, this time the outburst was a little more.
The reason simply being that the stature of the player in question was a little bigger than before. Rayudu performed exceedingly well in the recently concluded IPL and ended as the highest run scorer for the Chennai Super Kings franchise. Scoring more than 600 runs he, was valuable in taking the team to its third title victory.
Following the failure and Rayudu’s axing from the squad, the HCA Secretary Sheshnarayan was left red faced as he questioned the validity of the Test.
“This looks very lopsided and deep-rooted. Since a person who got nearly the highest runs in IPL this year and has also played all the 50-over games in the domestic season, he now finds himself unfit on some highly overrated fitness tests. How can an unfit person score so many runs? This is very harsh and draconian. HCA will stand by its players and fight for their rights.
Also Read: Rohit Sharma passes the Yo-Yo Test, finally
We know what is going on behind the scenes and people are taking advantage of the fluid situation in the BCCI and pushing decisions. We demand that the process of the tests be made transparent and open to public domain,” demanded the Secretary.
Bring on the debate
Recently, news came in that Rohit Sharma had qualified the Yo Yo test. God forbid, if he too failed, then they would have been a larger debate. Rohit is considered as one of the best opening batsmen that India ever produced. Thankfully, he cleared the test and brought all the speculations to rest.
However, this does not bury the question that should Yo Yo test supersede the natural paying ability and talent of a player? While there was always an emphasis on fitness, things changed drastically once Virat Kohli came into the picture.
Especially after he took charge of the team in his hands, he propelled the entire system to be more sensitive towards fitness. Kohli brought in an altogether new culture in the team. Stars such as Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina were not picked for the reason that they were not able to qualify for the Yo Yo test.
A world wide phenomenon
That being said, the Yo Yo test is not unique to cricket. It is employed in several other games as a benchmark for fitness. In cricket only, there are various other countries that have a functional Yo Yo test.
However, there are various benchmarks for different countries. While New Zealand have a very stringent benchmark of 20.1, countries like India (16.1, now raised to 16.3) are a little less strict. Even neighbours Pakistan have a Yo-Yo benchmark of 17.4, which was earlier 17.1.
That being said, Australia has denounced the Yo-Yo Test. They have replaced it with the time trial test which involves running for 2 kms. Windies, on the other hand, are at 19.
All in all, fitness is of paramount importance but should it be allowed to become even more critical than the natural playing ability and talent of a player, the question remains!