Virat & Co to undergo fitness test before ‘Bangla test’

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Kolkata:  All players in the Indian cricket team will have to undergo a fitness test before leaving for Bangladesh. While cricketers, who have recovered from an injury, are usually asked to undergo a fitness test, this will be the first time in a long time that the entire squad is being scrutinized.
The fitness test will be conducted on June 6. The squad assembles in Kolkata on June 5. It leaves for Dhaka on June 7 to play a one-off Test and three ODIs, starting three days later.

“We’ve seen so many players break down mid-tour in the recent past. We want to ensure this doesn’t happen,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said this to reporters.

During India’s last overseas tour, four Tests and a tri-series, which was followed by the World Cup in Australia, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had to return home for rehab during the Test series. Jadeja had been nursing a shoulder injury, while Bhuvneshwar had a bad ankle. Axar Patel and Dhawal Kulkarni were flown in as their replacements.

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Ishant Sharma had injured his knee in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. He missed the final match of the series but was picked to play a tri-series fixture on January 26. The game was abandoned due to rain and Ishant eventually failed the fitness Test ahead of the World Cup. Mohit Sharma replaced him in the squad.

Earlier, in England, Ishant had broken down after bowling India to a memorable victory at Lord’s. The team management had described the injury as a “sore leg”. Over the past few seasons, Indian players have made a habit of breaking down mid-series. BCCI under its present dispensation, has chosen to be cautious.

Also, as the players were busy playing the IPL, their fitness was not monitored by the Indian team support staff or at the National Cricket Academy. The cricket board gets a feedback on players’ fitness from every franchise after the tournament, but this time, they want to make their own assessment.

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla made it clear on Monday that if a player is feeling fatigued, he must report immediately to the BCCI secretary. “The consistent policy of the BCCI is that whoever is feeling fatigued he must report immediately to the secretary. For we’ve a big talent pool and a number of players are available for every slot,” Shukla said during an interaction with a select group of reporters.