Rohit Sharma (right) and Hardik Pandya. (Photo: ANI)
Ahead of the Asia Cup 2023, Indian cricketers on Thursday underwent rigorous fitness drills, including the ‘Yo-Yo’ test which was aced by the players in attendance in Bengaluru. The exercise is a part of the six-day conditioning and skill-set enhancement camp, and, not surprisingly, Virat Kohli scored a high 17.2 in the test.
The BCCI mandated fitness parameter is 16.5. Apart from Kohli, it is learnt that skipper Rohit Sharma and ODI vice-captain Hardik Pandya among others have participated in the drills at the KSCA-Alur grounds in Bengaluru, and successfully completed the tests.
“The tests were successful and the reports will be sent to the BCCI soon,” a source following the developments told PTI news agency.
Four players – Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Sanju Samson and Tilak Varma – are expected to join the camp on Friday. The quartet is flying out of Dublin to Bengaluru after the three-match T20I series against Ireland at Malahide.
While the drills were largely restricted to indoor sessions on this day, except the Yo-Yo test, there will be increased outdoor activities from Friday. However, those returning from Ireland might not be put under the Yo-Yo test as they will be put through the skill-set segment of the camp.
The PTI had reported on Wednesday that several parameters of players will be checked during the camp including lipid profile, blood sugar (fasting and PP), uric acid, calcium, Vitamin B12 and D, creatinine, testosterone and Dexa tests etc. Apart from the fitness routines, the outdoor events will also include match simulation sessions monitored by batting coach Vikram Rathour and head coach Rahul Dravid.
However, the progress of KL Rahul will be keenly followed by the team management. It is understood that Rahul was also part of the fitness drills on this day but the Bengaluru batter was not included in the Yo-Yo test.
Rahul has been conditionally named in India’s Asia Cup 2023 squad, as chief selector Ajit Agarkar said the wicketkeeper batter is carrying a ‘niggle’ which is unrelated to his previous injury. Sanju Samson was named as a travelling reserve in the Asia Cup squad as a cover for Rahul.
While the team management and NCA staff are quite satisfied with Rahul’s batting fitness as evidenced by those sessions in the match simulation process last week, they still need more clarity on his readiness to handle the wicketkeeping duties. In the coming days, the top brass will be watching how the 31-year-old is progressing in this regard. But as things stand now, Rahul could miss the initial phase of the Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka.
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer was given an all-clear by the NCA authorities, but he will be watched closely, considering the Mumbaikar is also returning from an injury. The conditioning camp is scheduled to conclude on August 29 and the Indian team is expected to depart to Colombo the next day.
Team India will open their Asia Cup 2023 campaign against Pakistan in Kandy on September 2.