Ambati Rayudu Fails Yo-Yo Test, Likely to Miss Out on India Return

Bengaluru: It was expected to be a dream return for Ambati Rayudu into the Indian team on the back of a brilliant show in the Indian Premier League. But the batsman’s hopes of joining the team for the limited-overs tour of England were dashed on Friday when the 32-year-old reportedly failed the now compulsory Yo-Yo test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

Rayudu last played for India against Zimbabwe in 2016 and while the likes of skipper Virat Kohli and his predecessor MS Dhoni passed the test with flying colours, the Hyderabad batsman’s score was well below the threshold mark of 16.1 as per reports.

Rayudu isn’t the only one who failed the test that has seen not just the senior boys, but also the ‘A’ team players take the test in batches at the NCA. While the India ‘A’ and U-19 teams were so far excluded from going through the Yo-Yo test, they were added to the system this time round as even the Test team went through the fitness test before the one-off Test against Afghanistan. The earlier casualties were Mohammed Shami in the senior team and Sanju Samson in the ‘A’ team.

More than a decade ago, when Andrew Leipus was the physio and Adrian le Roux the trainer, Indian cricket started using the bleep test – the precursor to the yo-yo one – as a measure of the players’ aerobic fitness. Back then, however, the numbers were only a guide and no player was sidelined because he didn’t meet a certain benchmark.

Since Kohli took over as captain though, there has been an extra emphasis on fitness, with the captain himself leading the way. In fact, Kohli and Dhoni were the first to hit the ground running on Friday under the supervision of trainer Shankar Basu. Jasprit Bumrah, Siddharth Kaul and Washington Sundar were all part of the process as was injured all-rounder Kedar Jadhav. The handful of journalists who had gathered to watch were kept well away, with tape stretched across the entrance to the NCA premises.

There is already a move to raise the Yo-Yo test threshold from 16.1 to 16.3, with Ravi Shastri, the coach, keen on even better fitness ahead of an arduous year that includes tours of Ireland, England and Australia before next summer’s World Cup.

India play two T20Is against Ireland on June 27 and 29 before the tour of England. Their England sojourn begins on July 3 with the limited-overs leg of three T20Is and three ODIs. From August 1 to September 11, India will take on England in a five-match Test series.

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