Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur is delighted with the fitness levels of the side and considers Yo-Yo Endurance test as an important factor in this regard.
Arthur has said — in an video message released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) — that when he first joined the Men in Green, there was a significant room for improvement in the fitness levels which is why a well thought-out plan was carved out to improve this particular area.
“When I started my tenure with Pakistan, we had a look at what we needed to improve and one of the things that needed drastic improvement was the standard of fitness,” said Arthur.
The South African also explained why the Yo-Yo Endurance was used as a benchmark to gauge the level of fitness of the cricketers.
“Other teams in world cricket use skinfold test or the two-kilometer run test as a yardstick to evaluate fitness levels but we settled on something very simple such as the Yo-Yo Endurance test which provides an effective measure to assess cardio, durability and agility of cricketers,” he said. “We can also alter this as we get further in the piece because Grant Luden [strength and conditioning coach] keeps a close eye on what is best for the players.”
He added that the test helps in improving the concentration levels, hence, enabling the cricketers to bat and bowl effectively for a longer span of time.
“Standard of the fitness does guarantee performance but what it guarantees is the ability to concentrate for a longer period. It allows our batsmen to turn good 40s into very good 70, 80 and 100 plus scores because their concentration spell lasts a lot longer,” he said. “It also allows our bowlers to bowl longer and more sustained spells and their comeback spells to be a lot better.”
He further added: “We initially used 17.1 as benchmark after looking at player stats and gradually increased it to 17.4 as that level is appropriate for the recovery process. The recovery issue is important because it allows players to be in good shape for all formats of the game.”
He also made it absolutely clear that there was no compromise with regards to fitness levels and players who don’t meet the standards won’t get a chance to represent the national side.
“Players now know the minimum standards and they are aware of the fact that there is no compromise on those. Irrespective of who you are, you don’t get to play for Pakistan if you are not at the desired level,” he said. “It is not a threat but it shows that when we take players on the field, they are ready and fit enough to tackle the rigors of modern day cricket.”
Arthur also praised the work done by Luden in developing this culture. “Luden has been outstanding in driving this culture as he helped us in setting standards as they are important in bringing discipline, passion and consistent which is visible from the performances.”