Sanju Samson recently lost his place in the India A side, that is touring England this month, after failing the Yo-Yo test — an examination of a sportsperson's fitness level. Just 23 years of age, Samson is among the promising cricketers in India, and his failure to pass the fitness test comes as a shock for the Indian cricketing fraternity.
So what could be the possible reasons for the youngster failing to maintain the desired fitness levels?
Lack of fitness trainer during IPL?
According to a report in CricketNext, Rajasthan Royals, Samson's franchise during the recently-concluded Indian Premier League season, didn't have a fitness trainer on board. The responsibility of keeping players in shape was with chief physio John Gloster and football physio Noel Augustine. The latter who was appointed from Indian Super League outfit ATK, only joined the Royals' camp after the Kolkata club's ouster from the Indian Super Cup.
So during Rajasthan Royals' preparatory phase for the 2018 IPL, Gloster was the only person overlooking players' fitness. This lack of support might have had an adverse effect on Samson's fitness level and led to him failing the Yo-Yo test.
A football physio with no cricket experience?
Augustine came from a football background but had little experience in dealing with cricketers. Unlike football, cricket is not a contact sport. The planning, assessment, diet and well-being of a player’s fitness in cricket is very different from that of footballers. Before ATK, Augustine was associated with Penang Football Association where he had no exposure to cricketers.
The absence of proper fitness guide might have led to the fall in fitness levels for Samson.
Samson has had a busy cricket season and even for a 23-year-old, it's bound to take a toll on the body. Dav Whatmore who coaches Kerala state side — Samson's team in Ranji Trophy — felt fatigue could have been the reason for the 23-year-old failing the test. "Sometimes fatigue does creep in as you don’t get enough time for recovery. He played for India ‘A’, came back and played Ranji Trophy for us and then the IPL. It isn’t easy,” Whatmore told CricketNext.
"A little leeway can be given to someone who has had a long season of the IPL. He has been playing non-stop cricket and as you would know, losing weight can be an issue in-season as compared to the off-season," he suggested.
The youngster who is still finding his feet in international cricket may need some time to get used to the rigours a professional cricketer has to go through. Whatmore's comments provide a different perspective to the situation. The Kerala coach, however, quashed the suggestion that indiscipline was a factor getting Samson into trouble yet again.