In his interaction with fitness experts and influencers on Thursday (September 24), Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked India cricket captain Virat Kohli about the yo-yo test, that is a vital part of the Indian cricket team’s fitness routine.
“I heard these days there is a yo-yo test for the team, what is this test?” asked Modi during the virtual interaction held to mark the one-year anniversary of Fit India Movement. Modi also asked if Kohli has to pass the test or whether he is spared.
Kohli replied: “I’m the one who goes to run first and this is the condition that if I fail, I am also not available for selection. It is important to set that culture and it will lead to an improvement in overall fitness levels.”
So what is the yo-yo test that Modi and Kohli discussed during their interaction?
The test was developed by Danish football physiologist Jens Bangsbo. Two cones are placed 20 metres apart, and the athlete has to run between them when the beep goes off. The beeps become more frequent after one minute, and if the athlete fails to reach the line within that time, he is expected to catch up within two more beeps. The test is stopped if the player fails to catch up before the beeps run out.
The test has a beginner and an advanced level, and players are given scores. The minimum score set by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to pass the test is 16.1.
Does a players’ selection depend on this test?
Two years ago, players were dropped from the Indian teams for failing the yo-yo test. In fact, Sanju Samson – one of the heroes of the first week of the ongoing Indian Premier League – was left out of India A squad in 2018 for not achieving the par score.
Around the same time, pacer Mohammad Shami, too, was omitted from the squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan for failing the yo-yo test.
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Is it a fool-proof system?
No, it does have some limitations. The workload of a player can also affect the outcome. So, someone who is tested after a heavy season might struggle while a player who is fresher could easily pass. For instance, when Samson failed the test, his much senior teammate Ashish Nehra successfully completed the test.
Also, yo-yo tests are good for generic movement analysis. Different players respond differently based on their metabolism and lung capacity. Cricket, however, needs skill sets such as hand-eye coordination, footwork, body balance, upper and lower body strength, reflexes, how you maintain balance with head position, etc. — the yo-yo test isn’t a great indicator of where a player stands.
How is it used in other sports?
The par pass score is higher in hockey and football. But it isn’t the sole criterion for selection; the test is a mere indicator of the player’s fitness levels. In some tournaments, like the NBA, teams do not use this routine for selection.
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