With a number of high-profile and in-form Indian players like Ambati Rayudu and Sanju Samson missing out on a place in the national side after failing the yo-yo test, Danish sports scientist Dr Jens Bangsbo, who invented the drill, has advised caution while using it as a selection criterion in a sport like cricket.
With a number of high-profile and in-form Indian players like Ambati Rayudu and Sanju Samson missing out on a place in the national side after failing the yo-yo test, Danish sports scientist Dr Jens Bangsbo, who invented the drill, has advised caution while using it as a selection criterion in a sport like cricket. Speaking to The Indian Express, Bangsbo said that yo-yo is a very good tool to decide the fitness of a player but mental capabilities are also important in a particular sport.
One of the various tests in yo-yo sees a player shuttling between two cones set 20 metres apart. He starts on a beep and has to get to the cone at the other end before the beep goes again before turning back to return to the starting cone beating the third beep. The test was invented by the Danish sports scientist in 1990s and a player needs to score at least 16.1 to represent Indian at the international stage.
Bangsbo said that 16.1 is not a very high score to achieve as some of the fittest players have hit more than 20 in the past but repeated that one needs to be careful to use it for selection. “Since the level (16.1) isn’t that high, I can sense that they are expecting a minimum fitness level in their players. You may say that a player can perform well despite not reaching that level but as a team if it wants a certain minimum fitness level as part of its culture, 16.1 isn’t tough. But to use it for selection is different: I again say, you have to be careful about it,” he said.
The Yo-Yo Test had come under serious criticism after Amabti Rayudu who had scored 602 runs in the last edition of the Indian Premier League and took some good catches in the outfield, missed out on a place in the Indian team after he failed to clear it.
A few experts had demanded a second chance for the players a week later, instead of chucking them out summarily.
Bangsbo said that the test was invented to measure an individual’s capacity and should be used as a tool to get better. He added that this how the football clubs use it and that’s the constructive way. Since most of the tests in 90s judged players on the basis of their running, Bangsbo felt the need to have a specific test and came up with the idea of yo-yo.
However, least did he know that it will be a topic of discussion in India two decades later.
“Well, I had no idea. But I will say this, despite all the problems some players are having in India, it’s important to use this opportunity to see how to optimise the training to improve fitness, and use this as a tool for that. One has to be careful when using this as a selection criteria,” he added.
Team India coach, Ravi Shastri, on the other hand, has made it clear that anyone who wants to play for India will have to clear the yo-yo test. “Whoever thinks it’s a one-off thing, he is sadly mistaken and that person can take a walk,” he said during the pre-departure conference of the Indian cricket team for the Ireland and England series.