When the Indian cricket squad assembles for a preparatory camp at Alur, Bangalore, from Thursday ahead of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, top players who were given a 13-day fitness programme, will undergo a complete body test, including blood. Trainers will test their fitness and those who don’t meet standards will be pulled up as the BCCI does not want to take a chance in a World Cup year.
Players who returned from the West Indies tour and are not playing in the ongoing three match T20 series against Ireland were asked to follow the 13-day programme. This includes captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, all-rounders Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.
The fitness programme, divided into two parts with a rest-day in between, was to be followed from August 9-22. It was designed to keep every player in the best possible shape for the upcoming World Cup and is aimed at preventing an injury that could derail the Indian campaign.
The programme was prepared by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in consultation with its physiotherapists and trainers in order to assess players’ fitness levels before the preparation camp. The Indian Express understands that each player was given a certain training and diet programme that they had to follow strictly.
The programme focused on strength and mobility, shoulder care and glute muscles. Each player had to take a certain amount of protein on a daily basis, do gym sessions, walking and running followed by swimming, yoga sessions and massage. Depending on whether one was a bowler or batsman, they were advised to do a few fixed drills. Each player was advised to get nine hours of sleep.
“This is a special programme designed for players as we want them fit for the next two months. The trainer will come to know who has followed the programme and who hasn’t. The team management will then take a call on what to do with players who have not followed their programme,” a BCCI official said.
Taking no chances
Injuries have been a major concern for the Indian team for the past few years. They have witnessed at least one major setback before every big tournament, be it Jasprit Bumrah missing the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022 or the uncertainty over KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in the months preceding the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
Rishabh Pant too is out after a serious car mishap. The Indian board doesn’t want any more such setbacks and is trying hard to prevent them as much as they can.
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The camp and the fitness report on every player will help the team management and the selection committee in picking the final squad for the ICC World Cup to be held in India in October-November.
The senior selection committee picked the squad for the Asia Cup on Monday and panel chief Ajit Agarkar made it clear that the 15 men for the World Cup will be selected from the 18 who will go to Sri Lanka.
“It is really a no-brainer. We have picked 18 guys. So it will be in and around these guys. We have a few important players coming back from injuries. Hopefully, all goes well with them. Fortunately, we have some more time. September 5 is the deadline. We have a short camp and a couple of games before picking the squad. It will obviously be around these guys,” Agarkar said.