‘Who made the yo-yo test a pre-requisite for selection?’

How has the yo-yo test become a prerequisite for selection in the Indian team? In an exhaustive letter written to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has raised this question about the yo-yo test. The letter comes even as coach Ravi Shastri has suggested the test will be a regular feature for the Indian team going forward.
The Print has the full copy of Chaudhry’s letter, which states: “I keep reading about the yo-yo test being a criterion for selection in the Indian team. Is this correct? If so, who took this decision and when and what is the rationale for the same?
“At which forum was the decision taken to have a minimum score on the yo-yo test as a prerequisite for selection in a BCCI-selected team? Who all were present in the meeting that decided this?
“Most importantly, once this decision was taken, to whom was the same communicated? Was it communicated to all first-class players in India? Was it communicated to all List A players in India? Was it communicated to all state cricket associations to communicate to their players?”
Chaudhry’s questions come after a number of players were sidelined after failing the yo-yo test in the lead-up to the England tour. Ambati Rayudu was dropped from the ODI squad for the three-match series in England after he failed the yo-yo test. Sanju Samson was also withdrawn from the India A squad for the one-day tri-series in England after falling short of the 16:1 benchmark.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami, meanwhile, had been sidelined from squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru after failing a fitness test as well; reportedly, he also underwent yo-yo tests, though the results of these tests could not be confirmed. Previously, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh had been the first high-profile players who failed to meet the 16:1 benchmark after it was introduced, and teenaged allrounder Washington Sundar failed it and missed out on selection for a T20I series at home against New Zealand last year.
Coach Shastri has often prioritised fitness, even saying last year that he wanted his team to be the best fielding side at the 2019 World Cup. Now, as the senior team departed for England on Friday, he emphasised on the importance of fitness once again, particularly playing up the role of the yo-yo test.
“You have a certain ability, but with fitness you can enhance the same ability,” he said. “That is why we emphasise on this yo-yo thing. And whoever thinks it’s a one-off, he’s sadly mistaken. He can go for a walk. The philosophy is simple: you pass, you play; you fail, you fail.
“So this is not going to go anywhere and 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’s predecessor Anil Kumble, speaking to the media in Chennai, said that communication is particularly important when it comes to fitness. “It’s about the communication you have with a cricketer,” he said. “If he knows what’s expected of him on the fitness front and what the benchmark is, then what’s the problem?”
Last week, Saba Karim, the BCCI general manager for cricket operations, told the Indian Express that conducting yo-yo tests only after the teams – A and senior – had already been selected for their England tours was a “one-off”, given it was not possible to have the tests beforehand while the IPL was on.