India coach Ravi Shastri said Indian players need to get used to the Yo-Yo test, reiterating ‘it is here to stay’.
Mohammed Shami, Sanju Samson and Ambati Rayudu all failed the fitness test in the last month while Suresh Raina, who didn’t reach the prescribed mark last year, cleared it this time around ahead of the England tour.
Former India selector and coach Sandeep Patil has previously questioned the BCCI’s policy of cricketers needing to pass the test but Shastri put his weight behind the fitness-related selection policy.
“I think it’s a combination of both ability and fitness. If you are fit, you can enhance that ability. That is one thing that has been emphasised on while designing the Yo-Yo test. And it is here to stay. Whoever thinks it’s a one off thing, he is sadly mistaken and that person can take a walk,” Shastri told media.
“The philosophy is simple. You pass the test, you play. You don’t, you sit. So this is not going to go anywhere. The captain leads from the front, the selectors the management are on the same page. And the boys have responded extremely well.”
On the eve of the Indian team’s departure for Dublin for their tour of Ireland and England, skipper Virat Kohli has announced that he has completely recovered from the neck injury he sustained while leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL this year.
“I’m 100 per cent ready to go. The neck is fine now. I’ve had six to seven sessions in Mumbai and I’m absolutely ready to go. I went through the fitness test as well and the body is feeling fine. I’m actually very excited to get back onto the field, which is a very rare feeling when you play so much cricket. But in hindsight, these breaks really help. It freshens you up and gets you pumped to get back out there again,” Kohli said at a press conference in New Delhi.
The India batting sensation has struggled in English conditions in the past where he averages a dismal 13.40 in five Tests. In order to better acclimatise himself to the conditions, the India skipper had lined up a maiden county stint with Surrey in the month of June. However, the neck injury meant that Kohli begins the tour without a county stint under his belt. The 29-year-old though stated that the break can be a blessing in disguise.
“In hindsight when I look at it, I think what has happened was in my best interest. Yes, I wanted to go and experience the conditions in England; that’s a place we haven’t played to our potential. It’s been four years since we last went there and one tends to forget how the scenario is like there. I wanted to witness the difficult phase of those conditions, like which (Cheteshwar) Pujara and Ishant (Sharma) played in,” Kohli stated.
“But if I was 90 per cent with my body and used to the conditions as compared to being 110 now and going in fresh, I would much rather be in this position. More than anything, you need to be fresh and attain 100 per cent fitness before a long tour such as this,” he added.
India’s batsmen will be thoroughly tested by England pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the five-match Test series but Kohli believes playing the limited-overs clashes before the five-day games will hold India in good stead.
“The swinging ball has the tendency to trouble the best of batsmen. But then that helps our fast bowlers as well. As a batting unit, it will be a challenge to square off against the swinging ball, but by the time the Test series arrive we won’t feel like we are playing an away series because by then, we would have already played plenty of limited-overs cricket already,” he explained.
“As a captain of the team, I would like to put in performances myself. I think a lot of people have been thinking about the 2014 tour for too long now. We played the Champions Trophy in England last year, not in Bangladesh. And after what happened during the Tests in South Africa, we are looking to play difficult cricket because that is the only way we can improve.”
India will be the busiest of all teams in the ICC’s new Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the five-year cycle from 2018-23.
Team India will play a total of 203 international matches in the period, which includes 51 Tests, 83 ODIs and 69 T20Is.
West Indies are the second busiest teams during the five-year period with a total of 186 international matches. Although India play the most matches across all formats, they will play eight fewer Tests than England who have been allotted the most matches in the longest format.
INDIA FTP SCHEDULE 2018-23
July-September: Away series in England (Five Tests, three ODIs, three T20Is)
September: Asia Cup
October-November: Home series against West Indies (Three Tests, five ODIs, three T20Is)
November 2018–January 2019: Away series in Australia (Four Tests, three ODIs, three T20Is)
January-February: Away series in New Zealand (Five ODIs and three T20Is)
February-April: Home series against Australia (Five ODIs and three T20Is)
April: Home series against Zimbabwe (One Test and three ODIs)
May-July: ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup in England
July-August: Away series in the West Indies (Two Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is)
October-November: Home series against South Africa (Three Tests)
November-December: Home series against Bangladesh (Two Tests and three T20Is)
December: Home series against the West Indies (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
January: Home series against Australia (Three ODIs)
February-March: Away series in New Zealand (Two Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is)
March: Home series against South Africa (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
June-July: Away series against Sri Lanka (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
July-August: Away series in Zimbabwe (Three ODIs)
September: Asia Cup
October: Home series against England (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
October: Away series in Australia (Three T20Is)
October-November: ICC World Twenty20 in Australia
November 2020-January 2021: Away series in Australia (Four Test and three ODIs)
January-March: Home series against England (Five Tests)
March: Home series against Afghanistan (Three ODIs)
June: World Test Championship Final
July-August: Away series in Sri Lanka (Three T20Is)
August-September: Away series in England (Five Tests)
October: Home series against South Africa (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
October-November: ICC World Twenty20
November-December: Home series against New Zealand (Two Tests and three T20Is)
December 2021-January 2022: Away series in South Africa (Three Tests and three T20Is)
January-February: Home series against the West Indies (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
February-March: Home series against Sri Lanka (Three Tests and three T20Is)
March: Away series in New Zealand (Three ODIs)
July: Away series in England (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
July-August: Away series in the West Indies (Three ODIs and three T20Is)
September: Asia Cup
October-November: Home series against Australia (Four Tests and three T20Is)
November: Away series in Bangladesh (Two Tests and three ODIs)
December 2022-January 2023:
January-February: Home series against Australia (Three ODIs)
February: Home series against New Zealand (Three ODIs)
February-March: 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India