All cricketers must pass the Yo-Yo test if they want to be selected to play any format for the West Indies men’s and women’s teams.
This has been made clear by chief executive officer of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Johnny Grave, following the axing of batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis after they failed the renown fitness test.
Hetmeyer and Lewis were both dropped from this month’s One-Day International tour of Sri Lanka after failing Cricket West Indies’ new fitness standards.
The Yo-Yo endurance test is part of a series of fitness testing methods developed in Denmark by football physiologist, Dr Jens Bangsbo. It is a key measure used to evaluate a player’s stamina and endurance. One of the benefits of the test is that it helps players to recover faster during matches by increasing their aerobic capacity.
In December, 2018, at a meeting of its board of directors held in Trinidad, CWI revealed that the Yo-Yo Test would be the benchmark for testing players’ stamina and endurance.
At that time, CWI’s head of Sports Medicine & Science Dr Oba Gulston, who is responsible for conducting the test, said the fitness of the West Indies’ men team had improved by over 39 per cent the previous year as a result of the test.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Grave revealed that all of the men and women contracted by CWI, along with the players contracted to the six regional franchises were required to take the Yo-Yo test.
Cricketers that are contracted to the franchises are evaluated before and after the first-class season, while international players are assessed during the middle and the end of their contracts in January and June respectively. Barbadian fast bowler Chemar Holder recorded the highest score of all the cricketers when the tests were conducted in June 2019.
“Each International player has a target and a fitness programme to help them achieve their objective. Since this process began two years ago, the players are on average 50 per cent fitter than they were when we started to implement this new policy to drive and improve our fitness standards. Our minimum standard is still some way short of where we want it to be,” Grave said.
The CEO explained that the minimum standard of the test requires a player to run 1600 metres in shuttles of 20 metres at a specific time. He revealed that less than 10 per cent of all the cricketers in the system are below the minimum standard.
“We expect to reduce that significantly by the next testing in June. This will represent a huge improvement in all fitness levels over the past two years,” Grave said.
He also disclosed that the minimum score a player required in the Yo-Yo test to be eligible for selection to the West Indies men’s team is 40. He explained that the score is lowered for members of the women’s team, but did not reveal the number.
In 2016, India made it compulsory for players to pass the Yo-Yo test in order to be selected for international duty. Since then Pakistan and the West Indies have also made it mandatory for their players to pass the test.
New Zealand, whose cricketers are rated to be among the fittest in the world, has not made it mandatory for its players to pass the test in order to be selected for international duty.