The Yo Yo test has been making headlines for quite sometime now. The new fitness parameter has been deemed compulsory for anyone representing the Indian cricket team. In the recent past, big players like Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina have failed the test. The Yo Yo test has been back in discussion as an in form Ambati Rayudu and Sanju Samson failed to meet the required mark. This has led to their exclusion from the England tour. There were also doubts on Rohit Sharma’s fitness. The fiery opener managed to shut the rumours after he successfully managed to clear the test yesterday.

What exactly is a Yo Yo test? 

Yo Yo Test is an endurance test for both physical fitness as well as mental strength. There are two cones set 20 meters apart from each other. The players are expected to run from one cone to another and then return back to the starting point within a stipulated time. There is a beep to signify the same. If a player fails to reach the point before the beep, he is given a warning.

After completing every shuttle, there is a 10 second break followed by another round. With each round, the stipulated time to reach the cone decreases. As soon as a player exhausts his limit of three warnings, the speed level attained till that point is calculated. For India, the minimum speed level is 16.1 to pass the fitness test. The qualifying level differs from one team to another.

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Should it be mandatory?

Modern day cricket has been extra demanding. Cricketers these days concentrate on playing across all the formats. Hence alongside the hefty schedule and all the hustle, it has become important to place special emphasis on fitness levels. Ever since Virat Kohli was assigned the leadership role, he has taken certain steps to ensure that fitness standards have been exemplary.

The exposure in the IPL can also be a subliminal reason behind the same. Interacting with different players from the foreign countries may have also played a certain influence. Gradually, the players seem to have adopted those training techniques, healthy diet and fitness regimes in their daily lifestyle. The result has been right here.

Over the years, India has become a brilliant fielding unit. With the emergence of youngsters, the energy levels on the field has been higher. This can be witnessed in the quick ground fielding, amazing run outs and some extraordinary catches. The running between the wickets has also improved. Moreover, the injuries have become less frequent and the presence of proper backups incase the need arose has strengthened the core of the team. Hence, it only makes sense for the test to be made mandatory.

Throwback to the 2011 England Tour, India had lost their prime bowlers Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar to injuries. The situation was so desperate that RP Singh who hadn’t played a first class game for six months was asked to start the proceedings at the Oval Test. No wonder, his fitness issues were reflected as five of his first six balls went down the leg side.

That horror tour was itself a reflection that a change needed to be brought in. Over the years, we finally have a certain Yo Yo Test in order to keep a check on the fitness levels. The fitness trend has been a welcome change in the Indian cricketing circles and if nothing, the Yo Yo test has placed a benchmark for sturdiness and robustness.

Also, while India has set the qualifying mark at 16.1, Pakistan and West Indies have even higher speed levels for eligibility. As for New Zealand, they’ve a qualifying level of 20.1 which is stupendous. For India, players like Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya have managed to clock the highest speeds. Their athleticism on the field is a sublime proof of their high fitness levels. Even senior players like MS Dhoni and Ashish Nehra have been fluent in their tests.

Hence, all the debate surrounding its uselessness need to end. Form plays a crucial role but there is a certain standard that has to be followed in international cricket. To quote, ‘Discipline is doing what needs to be done even if you don’t want to do it’. If the players fail to meet the requirements, then whether it’s Ambati Rayudu or anyone else, they will be shown the door and rightly so.

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