Saba Karim, the BCCI general manager for cricket operations, clarified that conducting the mandatory yo-yo tests after teams had already been selected for the England tours by India and India A was a “one-off”. Karim said that “logistical issues”, and the fact that the IPL was still going on then, left the board with no choice but to conduct the tests after the selection.
“It’s (yo-yo test) always conducted before team selection. This time the change happened because of the IPL,” Karim told The Indian Express. “We have to pick the teams early because of logistical reasons, so we couldn’t drag out players during the IPL and make them go through fitness tests. That’s why we conducted it after the IPL was over. And all the players were given enough time to prepare for that.”
A number of players had to be withdrawn for failing to meet the minimum standards in the test, leading to several questions about the timing of the tests. Mohammed Shami was withdrawn from the one-off Test against Afghanistan, and Ambati Rayudu was left out of the ODI squad for England after falling well short of the 16.1 parameter. Sanju Samson, meanwhile, was dropped from the India A squad for the one-day tri-series in England.
All the squads were picked a month earlier, on May 8, during the IPL. While Shami featured in just four IPL games, Rayudu finished as Chennai Super Kings’ highest run-getter in a victorious campaign. Samson was second on the charts for Rajasthan Royals, who reached the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, who wasn’t at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru last week when Virat Kohli and other limited-overs regulars underwent their tests, cleared it on Wednesday. Rohit, not picked for the Afghanistan Test, had obtained prior permission from the board to appear later because of sponsor commitments.
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In the past year, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh have also been left out of the national team for failing the test. In October 2017, the teenaged allrounder Washington Sundar failed it and missed out on selection for a T20I series against New Zealand.
“Earlier, if you see, in the case of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, the fitness tests were conducted before the team selection. It always happened like that in the past,” Karim said. “This time, the moment the teams were announced, whether that was the India A side or Team India, the players knew that they had to undergo fitness tests. So they had enough time to prepare. That is why so many of them prepared well and got through.”