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Fitness first for Team India

Our best is yet to come as far as fitness is concerned, and I am sure we will reach greater heights with the infusion of professionals into the system.

I was among the blessed ones to be in it with the legends who were donning India colours and playing in front of millions of people, who pinned their hopes on the country clinching the World Cup after 28 years. It’s no mean feat to be a part of history and become the world champion and the world No. 1 team.

Planning for the 2011 World Cup started a year before in Sri Lanka to ensure the team was mentally and physically fit in all aspects, and also to make the players enjoy every session and moment leading up to the big tournament. All boxes were ticked at every stage.

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In addition to team-bonding activities, we trained the team in such a way that they were able to endure the full tournament without any injuries.

As far fitness activities were concerned, every player took responsibility to remain fit throughout and each took his eating and other personal habits to a very professional level. Everything related to physical fitness was collated, and records were maintained.

The preparation for the 2011 World Cup included rotational and anti-rotational strength training for the anterior and posterior muscle systems, as well as hybrid training that included both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. In addition, there were individualised regime for each of the players. The Board of Control for Cricket in India and the different states administrations should be given full credit, as well as the support staff of physios, trainers, massage therapists and coaches for the current level of fitness and injury management of the team.

The efforts of the past and current support staff to make India cricketers supremely fit over the last 10 years are not talked about much. Fitness levels do not go over the roof in a short time; it takes time and smart thinking from both the players and the support staff of their respective states to raise the bar.

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In fact, the last years have witnessed a very good progression in the levels of fitness not only among cricketers, but also in other professional sportspersons around the world. Many things have made this possible.

  • There are now professional physios who manage to successfully return players to the game in quick time.
  • Young and dynamic strength and conditioning coaches have left their mark and have been part of the system for some time now.
  • Massage and recovery specialists play a huge role in injury prevention and cure.
  • Nutrition and diet regimes have become more professional, and sports nutritionists have come into the mainstream.
  • Sports psychologists are now vital in the system.
  • Data and movement analysis have gone a long way in correcting flaws that could lead to injuries.
  • Fielding fitness have improved.
  • The BCCI in the last 10-15 years has set up excellent gyms in the different state associations.
  • The BCCI and the state associations have provided players with recovery drinks and access to the best medical facilities and doctors.
  • Coaches are more open to the idea of incorporating fitness training in camps and net sessions.
  • Fitness testing has become mandatory at most associations for all age groups.
  • In the last 10 years, all state associations have got physios, strength and conditioning coaches and masseurs for all age groups.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli are committed and determined to be the best in what they do, be it their skill sets or their fitness.

Rest assured that players in the future will be fitter than the current lot. It’s an evolutionary process. Each generation adapts with the times and adopts the needs of the hour.

Our best is yet to come as far as fitness is concerned, and I am sure we will reach greater heights in the years to come with the infusion of professionals into the system.

My best wishes to the Indian team. May they come back with the coveted Cup.

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