Arnos Vale, St. Vincent – As of 2018, cricketers would need to meet a fitness standard to be selected for the national cricket teams. This was announced at the SVGCA Inc. annual general meeting, held on December 30, 2017.
President of the SVGCA Inc., Dr. Kishore Shallow made the announcement, stating “the fitness standard is in line with international requirements, which is currently being implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI).” He also explained, “our strategic plan speaks to having the best players in the world, therefore we must ensure we are amongst the fittest, which is fundamental.”
Denis Byam, 2nd vice president of the SVGCA Inc. and a trained physiotherapist, echoed “the yo-yo test would be used to measure the fitness standard of players.” Byam who is also the physiotherapist for Windward Islands Volcanoes highlighted “the yo-yo test is a common method used to assess the fitness level of cricketers, and it would be conducted with local players ahead of national training camps and before teams are selected.”
India senior cricket team under the leadership of Virat Kohli has enforced the yo-yo test rigidly, omitting high ranked players such as Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh as a result of failing the test. Umar Akmal of Pakistan has encountered a similar fate for his failure to meet the standard. The New Zealand team that recently outplayed the West Indies senior team is considered to be the fittest international cricket team.
National chairman of selectors, Roland Wilkinson, added his full support of this approach to emphasize on fitness. “As chairman, I appreciate the move to establish a standard for our players, and my panel will be guided by the policy of the SVGCA Inc. when we select the upcoming national teams,” said an enthusiastic Wilkinson.
The next national assignments are expected to be in March for Female Windward Islands tournament, then in May for Male senior Windward Islands tournament, and June for Winlott Inc. Windward Islands Under 19 tournament. Windward Islands and Vincentian senior cricketer, Kenneth Dember expressed his confidence in the new practice. “I think the implementation of the yo-yo test will be a very good idea because players will now know exactly how fit they are and also where work needs to be done,” says Dember.
The fitness test is already available to any player who wishes to do preliminary assessments.