The 2023 Asia Cup kicked off with a strong performance from Pakistan, as the side secured a commanding 238-run victory over Nepal on the opening day. Sri Lanka, the other co-host, also had a smooth start, defeating Bangladesh by five wickets on the second day of the tournament. Team India, which will be playing all its matches in Sri Lanka, begins its campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Kandy. The Indian players arrived at the Asia Cup after an intensive five-day training camp in Alur; during this camp, the Indian team fine-tuned its skills and also prepared for different in-match scenarios. In addition, the players also underwent fitness tests, notably the rigorous Yo-Yo test.
Young opener Shubman Gill showcased his exceptional fitness by achieving a top score of 18.7 in the Yo-Yo test. It’s worth mentioning that all the cricketers who participated in the Yo-Yo test comfortably exceeded the required threshold of 16.5. The major takeaway, however, was that Shubman’s score exceeded former India captain Virat Kohli, who had usually been top-scoring in the YoYo Tests in the past; Kohli had revealed his score in his Instagram story, posting an impressive 17.2.
Kohli is largely credited with bringing about a fitness revolution in the Indian team; under his captaincy, India developed one of their strongest pace bowling attacks in history. And so, it came as a surprise to many that Kohli wasn’t the highest scorer in YoYo Test but former Pakistan captain Salman Butt had a theory explaining the potential reason behind it.
Butt, referring to Pakistan side’s own example, stated that Kohli, at 34, might have been more focussed on only clearing the benchmark and preserving his energy for the rest of the training camp, rather than aiming to top-score in the Test. The former Pakistan captain believes that youngsters usually tend to exceed the limits and same must have happened with Shubman Gill.
“I’ll tell you one thing. When a player reaches a certain age and he knows what the required limit is, he would simply cross it and be done with it. In the Pakistan team, we were also taking part in these fitness tests. The youngsters had this craze of pushing the limits. The seniors, no matter how fit they are, just try to cross the benchmark and let it be. They don’t try to push further because it also creates unnecessary expectations,” Butt said on his official YouTube channel.
“Someone like Shan has crossed 20 score in YoYo Tests. Shadab also reached 19. We don’t know how much they pushed. I remember our 2-4 bowlers who would reach 18 or 18.5 and decide among themselves to stop pushing further. You complete the benchmark and preserve your energy.”
Rohit ‘didn’t work as hard’
Butt also namedropped Rohit Sharma, insisting that the Indian captain didn’t work as hard on his fitness as Virat Kohli. The former Pakistan captain also mentioned the two sixes that Kohli hit against Haris Rauf in the T20 World Cup last year as a testament to India star’s fitness.
“YoYo is not the only benchmark, though. You see his gymwork, his ethics. You see his shots, the two shots he hit against Haris Rauf in World Cup last year… not much time has gone by. Rohit Sharma didn’t work as hard as he should have. He was a great talent but he didn’t take care of his fitness. You just have to see both of their appearances,” said Butt.