A lecturer in Sports Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, has questioned the relevance of the Yo-Yo test in determining the fitness of the region’s best cricketers.
While acknowledging it did measure “general, overall fitness”, Dr Rudolph Alleyne has suggested that the test might not be the best way to gauge the fitness of cricketers.
His comments have come following a decision on Monday by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to axe Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis from this month’s One-Day tour of Sri Lanka after they both failed to meet the minimum standard of the Yo-Yo test.
During a subsequent interview with Barbados TODAY, CWI’s chief executive Johnny Grave maintained that players who wanted to gain selection to any of the West Indies’ men or women’s teams, first had to pass the test.
However, Dr Alleyne, who is also the Academic Programme Coordinator at UWI and has a degree in sports psychology and exercise physiology, said while the Yo-Yo test catered more so to aerobic fitness, cricket was more anaerobic in nature.
“This test then has some relevance to general overall fitness but more specifically aerobic fitness. Sports like cricket, however, are predominantly anaerobic in nature – 95 per cent anaerobic and five per cent aerobic.
“Therefore, how relevant is this predominantly aerobic test to the overall fitness and performance of the cricketers? But more importantly, should it be used as a selection tool, and if so, what weight should it carry in the battery of tests and or selection criteria?” Dr Alleyne questioned.
He said it was debatable whether Hetmyer and Lewis, two of the region’s budding stars, should have been dropped from the team based on the results of the Yo-Yo test alone.
“These players are considered some of the best and most promising of the young talent in West Indies Cricket. So was the axing of these players justified based on “failing” the Yo-Yo test? In other words, should the Yo-Yo test be used as an assessment tool or selection criteria? And if it is part of the selection criteria is it the best test to be used?” he queried.
Dr Alleyne further explained that it was not possible to fail the Yo-Yo test, but minimum requirements could be put in place to ensure persons reached a certain level of fitness.
He pointed out that even though the New Zealand cricket team used a similar test to judge the fitness of its players, it was not a prerequisite to gaining selection.
That aside, Dr Alleyne admitted that a high level of fitness was necessary for a professional athlete to operate at an optimal level.
“There is no argument that fitness is an important element in any sport, particularly when you are performing at the international level. The belief that the fitter you are translates into a reduction in recovery time from injury and the facilitation of maintaining a higher level of performance is supported by Sport Science,” he argued.
“More importantly though, is understanding that there are different components of fitness (aerobic, anaerobic, strength, flexibility, balance, power, speed) and the degree to which these are important, practiced, developed and improved are more sport-specific.”