Kapil Dev: Cricketing fitness different from Yo-Yo tests

The former India captain stresses that a player's cricketing sense and ability are more important than their athleticism.

Kapil Dev also didn't want to be drawn into the debate whether the current Australia team is weaker than others in the past.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

He is legendary for a multitude of reasons, one of them being his amazing fitness levels throughout his playing career, so when Kapil Dev insists that fitness standards need to be looked at in their entirety, you have to take note.

India's first ever World Cup-winning captain insists that while Yo-Yo tests can be a good parameter for setting a basic benchmark, they cannot be the only criterion for national team selection. “I think it's important to keep a fitness level but in my mind, cricketing fitness is more important than anything else and cricketing fitness is different from Yo-Yo Tests,” Kapil told Sportstar on the sidelines of his Tedx Talk here on Sunday.

Read: 'Yo-Yo just one part of a fitness drill'

“If you are not a good athlete but if you have good cricketing sense and cricketing brain use yourself best for the benefit of the team, that's more important. If I say (Ravichandran) Ashwin is not a 100 per cent athlete but he is a 100 per cent performer of the game, he has achieved more than anybody in the history of the game, can you really say he is not good enough for selection if he doesn't pass the Yo-Yo Test? Same with (Saurav) Ganguly, he wasn't one of the best athletes but he was one of the best captains we have had,” Kapil added.

He, however, refused to comment on the upcoming Australia series or predict its outcome despite all talk of this being the weakest Australian team.

“I am nobody to comment on the series, it's a good team and I hope they play well, I hope they don't have any injuries and I just want them to play hard cricket. I think us players' outlook is different from what the media says or thinks about the opposition. I wouldn't say so (the weakest team). You are playing in their backyard, they understand the conditions well. It's just that you need the right team at the right time. I can't say Australia can ever be called a weak team,” he warned.

Kapil was also not a big fan of the in-your-face aggression that has been dominating the Indian team for a while now. “Aggression is not something to show on television. Hitting the bat on the ground on getting out is not aggression, it's show business. Aggression is what you have within you, someone in the team is expressive and someone is not. Speaking loudly or abusing is not being aggressive, aggressive is what you do with your performance,” he declared.

Asked about Hardik Pandya and the constant comparisons as an all-rounder, Kapil advised restraint. “I only say that we should not put pressure on young kids, don't compare so early. Tomorrow when Prithvi (Shaw) comes out and we say he's the next Sachin Tendulkar, his natural talent will go out, don't do that.

“Let them play over a period of time – 7-8 years – and you will come to know who's what because by then a player is mature enough. Today you can compare Virat (Kohli) whether he is like Sachin or Viv Richards or at that level because he has already come out with his personality. Pandya is a very good cricketer, very talented but he has to perform,” he signed off.

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