Why Kohli’s Yo-Yo fitness brag riled BCCI

Indian board advises players, according to media reports, not to post ‘confidential’ matter on social media

Virat Kohli (Photo: National Herald Archives)
Virat Kohli (Photo: National Herald Archives)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) peeved with Virat Kohli, easily their fittest cricketer at 34 years, taking pride in excelling in his Yo-Yo test on Thursday? A report in Indian Express, quoting an unnamed BCCI official, says that members of the Asia Cup-bound squad have been verbally advised ‘to avoid’ posting any confidential matter on social media platforms.  

‘’The happiness of finishing the Yo-Yo test between the dreaded cones. 17.2 done,’’ a beaming Kohli had posted on Instagram via a story. It’s a mark well above the acceptable benchmark of 16.5 and must have delighted his fans, but the BCCI bosses are believed to be not happy seeing the player post a piece of confidential information on social media. 

‘’Players have been informed verbally to avoid posting any confidential matter on social media platforms. They can post pictures while training but posting a score leads to breach of contract clause,’’ the BCCI official was quoted as saying.  

Ironically enough, it was during Kohli’s tenure as India captain – a period when he placed a huge premium on fitness of cricketers and led by example – that the Yo-Yo test was introduced to judge the fitness levels of cricketers. It’s an aerobic endurance fitness test that involves running between markers placed 20 metres apart apart at increasing speeds. The score for ‘passing’ the test, initially kept at 16.1, was later raised at 16.5 and over a period of time, it became a nightmare for those lacking the right work ethic. 

There were a number of international cricketers who failed to meet the cut-off mark and were dropped from the squad – namely Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakravarthy, Ambati Rayudu and Sanju Samson during Kohli’s tenure. They went on to ‘improve’ their marks and returned to the squad but news of their failure in the Yo-Yo test was hardly a well-kept secret then.  

The test, discarded for a while, was re-introduced along with the Dexa test (bone scan) since the beginning of 2023 – ostensibly with an eye towards assessment of the players’ fitness with the 2023 World Cup in mind. The Indian cricket team, incidentally, had been suffering heavily with fitness woes with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Prasiddh Krishna returning the squad for the Asia Cup after varying degree of lay-offs. 

While the BCCI may be well-meaning to ensure the highest level of fitness going forward, they made an allowance for Rahul for an important tournament like Asia Cup despite carrying a niggle even after coming out of rehab.    

Most of the Indian players selected for the Asia Cup have reported in this week-long training camp in Alur off Bengaluru, others who were busy with the Ireland T20I series are expected to join on Friday. 

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Published: 25 Aug 2023, 1:55 PM