Fitness and Cricket

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Fitness plays a vital role in our life. If we want to live a healthy and serine life we have to be health conscious adequate hours of exercise is a necessity.

The youngsters have to be advised that they need to have a balanced diet before they come in to the sporting arena and their parents must be aware on the amount of nutrients that they need to give them on a daily basis. These are the areas that we need to work on in order to help the future generation to have successful sporting careers.

Fitness is a major requirement for all professional sports persons.
 
Why fitness is important in Cricket?

Cricket is a sport in which fitness is traditionally not thought of as very important. The importance of fitness in any sport cannot be underlined. The fitter you are the better you’ll play. But Cricket is one such sport which tests your game skills, mental strength, stamina and physical endurance as well. The success in the 1990s and 2000s of the world beating Australian team has been attributed to their professionalism, and in part to the way they addressed their fitness. The other test playing nations have rightfully put more emphasis on fitness recently and are reaping the benefits.

As we all know that there has been a lot of changes have taken place in the way that the game has been played over the past decade.
From the early 2000s the scoring rates have gone up significantly. Especially with the introduction of T20 cricket the game has become more competitive and fitness has become an important aspect in Cricket. A lot of international cricket is being played throughout the year hence it’s important to manage each and every player’s workload and their levels of fitness have to be monitored frequently.
 

The problematic situation

Fitness has become a major talking point in the recent past. The sports minister of Sri Lanka Dayasiri Jayasekara criticized the standards of fitness in the Sri Lankan National Cricket team after their early exit from the recently concluded Champions Trophy.

From there onwards there have been conflicts among the players and the management.

Cricket experts believed that this problematic situation was the main reason behind the team’s unexpected series defeat against Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka’s fielding has been a major cause of concern for a long time now; ever since Thilakaratne Dilshan retired the standards of Sri Lankan fielding has been disintegrating rapidly over the past year.

After the Zimbabwe series the Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Mathews decided to step down from the captaincy. In the last press conference as captain he stated that the main reason for his resignation was due to the team’s poor performances in the recent past.

According to my point of view, I think that Mathews took the right decision in the nick of time. There was a time where everybody thought that he must give up the captaincy and spend more time on improving his performance.  He must always understand the fact that he is a senior member in the team and he must look to inspire the younger players and be a role model in the team.

Angelo is known to be an injury prone cricketer. Prolonged injuries had kept Mathews out of International Cricket in the recent past. Even though he returned in to the team, his fitness is still a major concern for the Sri Lankan team management.

To be fit enough to play International Cricket we need to take in adequate amounts of nutrients, do adequate hours of exercise and more importantly they have to be mentally fit to go on to the playing field to execute their plans that they plan during practice sessions.
After the first One Day International against Zimbabwe the former Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Mathews was frequently questioned about the reasons for their poor performances in the recent past especially in the department of fielding. This was his answer

“In practice sessions we spend a lot of time on our fielding but we fail to execute our plans on the field. At times we failed to cope up with the pressure and unfortunately we let ourselves down on the field. It is disappointing to see catches go down even from our best fielders in the team”

The Sri Lankans have dropped 56 catches in 26 games across all formats during the first half of the year 2017. Pathetic isn’t it?

We know that it is impossible to take every catching opportunity that comes their way but, when it comes to the international level they are expected to take almost all the opportunities because if they fail to grab the catches it could lead to a disaster.

In this day and age almost all the National Cricket teams have their own strategies on how they are going to improve their areas of weaknesses, each cricket team have at least three coaches to help them to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
 

The Troublesome Injuries
 
As cricket fans it is frustrating to see a lot of players get injured and they often had to be out of international cricket for a long time and sometimes they had to hang their boots up in the early stages of their careers.
 
The cricket experts believe that the coaches must give a daily routine to each and every player and they have to keep a record about each player’s level of fitness.

In recent years there have been instances where some players that have been playing with injuries and they have come in to the team with a high risk of being injured.

An instance where this was a talking point was when Asela Gunarathne was ruled out with a fractured thumb during the first Test against India at Galle.
 
Before the first Test against India his left hand was heavily bandaged and in the 14th over of the game he dropped Shikhar Dhawan at slip he immediately clutched his hand in pain and he did not come back on to the field. The commentators said that Gunarathne must have come in to the game with an injury and must have aggravated the injury that he had before the match had begun.

Nuwan Pradeep bowled extremely well in the first Test against India. He took six wickets in the game and he was the best among all the bowlers that bowled in the game.

Unfortunately he also was added to the Sri Lanka’s long injury register. He was able to bowl only 17.4 overs in the second Test as he picked up a hamstring injury. The commentators said that the main reason behind Pradeep’s injury was the heavy workload. He was not allowed to have the rest that he desperately required.

 The fitter you are the better you’ll play! If you have less injuries you can play International Cricket for a long time.

When we have a closer look at the International Cricket Calendar we can understand that the players will not have enough time to rest. Almost all the international teams have packed schedules to be played throughout year in all three formats.
 

As professional International Cricket players it is their responsibility to look after themselves and they need to pay attention to their body and assess and decide when to hang their boots up from playing International Cricket.
 
Once you have lost the enthusiasm and the passion that you had towards the game you have to know that it is time to bid farewell to the game that you loved.

At the end of the day you must be able to be satisfied with what you were able to achieve and you must remember the fact that you were lucky enough to represent your country in the highest level of the game.

One must remember that every cricketer is not lucky to have a fairy tale ending to their careers and they must try to make their careers memorable so they can be remembered as one of the greats in the game.

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