BCCI stresses on standard of fitness

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur and selectors committee chairman Sandeep Patil on Thursday stressed upon the importance of every player having to meet fitness standards in order to represent the national team, besides being in good playing form.

“Apart from the performances of players, we also discuss their fitness on tours. BCCI is very keen for a system where anyone who gets selected to play for Indian team should meet the standards of fitness we have,” Thakur said in a press conference here after having selected a squad for a Test series in Sri Lanka during August.

“The NCA (National Cricket Academy) will play a very important role in this regard, not only for the national team but also ‘A’ and Under-19 teams. Once the players are in the reckoning for selection, they should know what fitness standards we are looking at and qualify accordingly,” he said.

Patil said the failure of leg-spinner Karn Sharma and pacer Mohammad Shami in getting selected was based on the fitness reports that were given to the BCCI.

“We always have the fitness report prior to the selection committee meeting,” the chief selector said. “Karn Sharma has still not recovered from his injury and it is the same with Mohammad Shami. So, these two players were not discussed.”

Since the retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha has taken over the wicket-keeping job but averages only 17.00 in five Test.

Asked if he was a suitable player to bat at No.6, Patil said: “If Saha has the technique to bat at 6, time will tell.

“We have backed him looking at his performance in domestic cricket and the kind of experience he carries. You cannot just replace someone like Dhoni and come in and deliver immediately.

“But we certainly feel that Wriddhiman Saha is the right option at this stage. Given his ability with the bat, we should strike a good balance in the team.”

Although there is no reserve wicketkeeper in the squad of 15, Patil said they have a backup in place if any injury were to happen to Saha. “We have nominated a stand-by wicketkeeper. If there is an injury on the Sri Lanka tour, we know who will replace the wicketkeeper,” Patil said.

Patil also commented on the recently concluded Zimbabwe tour where the team won the One-Day series 3-0 and drew the T20s 1-1, lauding the efforts of the Ajinkya Rahane-led players.

“We are very happy with the kind of performance the team delivered in Zimbabwe. It was a very young team with Ajinkya Rahane leading for the first time. We will continue to support players based on their form and fitness without looking at their age.”

Thakur concluded with the confirmation that the team would be travelling to Sri Lanka without the head coach with team director Ravi Shastri leading the current support staff.

“The cricket advisory committee will meet soon to shortlist the names (for the post of head coach) and recommend it to the BCCI,” the secretary said.

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