Virat Kohli has been one of the fittest in the Indian team, and the players have been told to up their game in the fitness department. The team management has also introduced yo-yo tests, which the cricketers need to pass in order to be considered for selection.
The likes of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina have reportedly failed this test, which has led to their exclusion from the national team. It shows that no matter how senior a player may be, he has to pass the test, reflecting no double standards when it comes to fitness.
Former India captain Kapil Dev has backed Kohli for this initiative.
"Every captain brings in his ideas. This captain believes fitness is very, very important. And we should respect that. You may be very talented, but if you can't take catches or save those extra runs the team requires, then there is no point," "Hindustan Times" quoted Kapil as saying.
"It is not that nobody can do the yo-yo test. But if the captain has made that the basis, I respect that because I was very particular about fitness. It will be unfair if I don't support that."
"The message goes to the kids, to everybody, that you have to be fit; it is not only runs and wickets, a bit of fitness has to be there, and (then) what level of fitness is required. I support Virat in that aspect. Maybe 30 years back, half of the players will not fit into the team."
Why so much focus on fitness?
Gone are the days when one would get into a national team, just because they are a good batsman or a good bowler. They have to be minimum two-dimensional, with fielding being an important part of their game as well.
The game is moving at a quick rate, and players cannot afford to lag behind else they might have to play catch up.
Fitness is assuming greater importance with matches being decided on the field as well. There is a serious need for players to be quick on the field and run well between the wickets in the modern-day game.
Also with the amount of cricket being played by India these days, this yo-yo test will keep players on their toes, and thus help maintain their fitness throughout their careers.