Gone are the days when cricket was limited to just batting and bowling. Fielding was not given too much of an importance as compared to cricket, however things are changing now. Fitness is playing an important role in cricket.
The India selectors along with the BCCI will also be keeping a close eye on the players' fitness in the near future. One wonders if Yuvraj was dropped for the upcoming ODI and T20 series against Sri Lanka due to fitness issues.
With the ICC World Cup 2019 in mind, the BCCI are also mulling on the idea of introducing fitness parameters, and players failing to match those will not be considered for team selection.
"I can put my hand on my heart and say that after the Champions Trophy, we felt that we need to be a fitter and a stronger side. We felt that we need to raise our fitness levels and fielding standards. I'd like to officially tell you that you will also get an official note from the BCCI, that we're trying to fix some fitness parameters and whoever it is, has to strictly adhere to those parameters," The Times of India quoted chief selector MSK Prasad as saying.
"We have two to three phases in those parameters leading up to the 2019 World Cup and if someone fails to match to those parameters, then he will not be considered irrespective of whoever it is."
This has to be taken in light with the growing demands of world cricket, where fitness is taken seriously by all teams around the world. With the advent of T20, the fielding levels have gone up of all teams. Players are much swift on the turf, which can all be attributed to good fitness levels.
It is not only limited to ODI or T20 cricket, but also in Test cricket, where fitness of the players remain tested while playing long innings or bowling longer spells. Keeping one fit does not necessarily mean training hard only, but the players also have to keep a serious check on their regular diet.
With Virat Kohli, being one of the fittest cricketers in the world, the India captain has always set an example, and now, it is time for others to follow on his footsteps too.
Though India have some fit players, there are some, who seriously need to pull their socks up. One is not sure about the parameters that is going to be set, but the BCCI must be surely thinking about improving the fitness levels of India cricketers on a regular basis. It has to be a long-term and continuous project.