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Yo-Yo test in cricket: The ultimate fitness benchmark for players

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The Yo-Yo test has become a talking point in recent years ever since it set the benchmark for selection in the Indian cricket team.

This test is considered to be one of the main reasons for the massive improvement in fitness levels among players today.

Interestingly, several cricketers including Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Sanju Samson and recently Varun Chakravarthy have failed to clear the Yo-Yo test.

Explained: What is the Yo-Yo test?

The Yo-Yo test is a variation of the Beep test, a running aerobic fitness test that involves running between two sets of cones that are 20 metres apart (incidentally the length of a cricket pitch). 

Once the beep is sounded, a player has to reach the cone on the other side at the next beep. The player then has to return to the initial cone before the third beep sounds. Once the return trip is done, it marks the completion of a shuttle. 

There’s a seven second recovery period between each shuttle. As the level of each shuttle goes up, the duration benchmark for the completion of the shuttle decreases. The number of shuttles per level increases too although not mathematically. This leads to an increase in the running speed.

It starts with level 5, which consists of one shuttle, level 11 has two shuttles and so on and gets gruelling as it progresses. Level 23 is the highest.

Once a player misses two beeps, their test ends. The process is software-based and the results are recorded.

The benchmark level for the Indian cricket team is 16:1, which covers 1120 metres.

The level for New Zealand cricketers is set at 20:1.

Who invented the Yo-Yo test?

Danish soccer physiologist Dr Jens Bangsbo had introduced the Intermittent Recovery Test (Yo-Yo test) in the 1990s. The test was initially done on footballers to improve their overall fitness and aerobic capacity. The routine, however, did not follow the template of running long distances. Over a period of time, other sports started embracing the Yo-Yo test.

When was the Yo-Yo test introduced to Indian cricket team?

Former Indian cricket team’s strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu had introduced the Yo-Yo test to the national side ahead of India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2017.

How have Indian cricket players fared in the Yo-Yo test?

While India’s benchmark Yo-Yo score is set at 16.1, there are cricketers who have gone beyond it.

India captain Virat Kohli recorded a score of 19 in the Yo-Yo test but he has three strong competitors in domestic cricket who have recorded higher scores.

According to a report in PTI, Indian players Manish Pandey, Karun Nair and Mayank Dagar bettered Kohli’s Yo-Yo test record. While Pandey touched the 19.2 mark, Himachal Pradesh cricketer and a former member of the India Under-19 squad Mayank Dagar recorded 19.3 in his test.

Additionally, Karnataka cricketer Karun Nair has also broken Virat Kohli’s record and was called the fittest cricketer in the Indian set up by Shankar Basu. However, his test results were not revealed.

However, failing the test does not necessarily provide the full picture of the player’s fitness.

“It doesn’t take in account the cricketing ability,” sports and exercise nutrition specialist Rishi Manuja told the Hindustan Times. “Also, one needs to be at a certain level of fitness to take part in the test. It can’t be the ultimate test of one’s sports ability.”. 

 

Featured photo: NOAH SEELAM / AFP






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