BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has raised questions over the use of yo-yo test as a crucial selection tool for the national sides.
This comes just a day after Ravi Shastri stressed further on the importance of the endurance parameter during India’s pre-departure press conference ahead of the full tour of UK, and conveyed, in no uncertain terms, that the need to clear test is non-negotiable.
Kerala batsman Sanju Samson missed the preset minimum score of 16.1 and lost the opportunity to be in India A’s squad for the tour of England, while a resurgent Ambati Rayudu, reclaiming his India spot via a fabulous IPL season with Chennai Super Kings, has also been pegged back to the periphery due to his failure of the test. A little earlier, fast bowler Mohammed Shami too was benched from the squad for the one-off Afghanistan Test owing to the same reason.
Previously, even Suresh Raina, Washington Sundar and Yuvraj Singh couldn’t clear the test and lost their spot in the side. Incidentally, Raina cleared the test later on and has now been roped in Rayudu’s replacement for the limited-overs leg of England tour, despite last having played an ODI in 2015.
“You have a certain ability, but if you’re fit then that same ability gets enhanced. And that’s why we emphasise on this yo-yo thing. And whoever thinks it’s a one-off, he’s sadly mistaken. He can take a walk. The philosophy is simple. You pass, you play. You fail, you sit. The captain leads from the front, the selectors are on the same page, the entire team management is on the same page and the boys have responded extremely well,” Shastri had said.
The Print reported that Chaudhry sent an eight-page letter to the Committee of Administrators (CoA), asking, among several other queries, as to who decided, and when, that yo-yo test would be a prerequisite of national team selection and the rationale behind such a decision. He also asked if the outcome of meeting where such a decision was taken on the yo-yo test was communicated to all the concerned channels – like players in domestic cricket and the respective boards. Chaudhry also came to the defence of Rayudu, who reportedly took the test for the very first time when he flunked. Chaudhry argued that familiarity with the process, and the lack of it in this case, can have a big impact on the result of the test.
“It is pretty much unfair to note when one hears that Mr. Rayudu took the yo-yo test for the first time only when the test was conducted for his selection. If the players have not even been informed about it officially then the imposition of this criteria is wrong, unjust and reeks of arbitrariness,” Chaudhry wrote. He also questioned the decision to not give parameters of fitness other than endurance equal importance while deciding if players were ready to be part of squads.
“There are many components that make up the fitness levels of an athlete but interestingly, it is only the score in a yo-yo test that has been made the prerequisite for selection. How did the forum that decided on this matter deal with the other components?,” Chaudhry questioned. Through the letter, Chaudhry also sought to find out if any analysis was done regarding the yo-yo scores and the actual performances of the players, and if characteristics like mental fitness and mental toughness were being considered too.
The yo-yo test isn’t the most latest addition in Indian cricket. It was backed during Anil Kumble’s tenure as India’s head coach and has carried on even after Ravi Shastri took over from the former India captain.
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