The gentleman’s game has become the zone of ‘survival of the fittest’ with the inflating demands of the T20s. In modern times, fitness has become a primary prerequisite for a cricketer.
Let me tell you some basic help that fitness can do to a player:
- Fitness puts one on the road map of the sport.
- It aids in injury prevention and management
- It shapes the skill sets of a player to a higher level.
- It brings in more mental strength for one.
- The fitness of an international player helps him in adapting to three different formats of the game.
Since the yo-yo tests have become the mandatory physical tests for the players in most teams, the fitness level of the international players has gradually improved to a high standard. You can read here everything you need to know about Yo-Yo Test in Cricket.
But in the case, there are some distinctive players whose fitness culture set examples for the others in the competition. When fitness combines with an intense passion for the game, it extracts different energy from a player. And we are going to look into those players who are the topmost fittest players among the current cricket crops.
Without further ado, here we go!
1. Virat Kohli
The transformation of Virat Kohli during the 2012&13 period worked as a kind of ambassador element for fitness in India. To be frank, the growth in fitness level improvised the mandatory lofted stroke-making ability of the Indian skipper. Along with that, the success of the fully fit Kohli came in as a paradigm shift for the way cricket was played. So Kohli’s fitness culture has a lot to do with the athleticism involved in the gentleman’s game played nowadays.
And the following are the achievements Virat made with the support of his fitness culture:
In ODIs, the Indian captain has made 1000 runs mark in a calendar year seven times while in Tests, he made it thrice. Besides, he has made three 2500 runs plus in a calendar year in all three formats combined. Apart from that, Virat has played many other match-winning knocks that would have bled him dry.
An otherworldly fuel is required for any player to reach these milestones without getting affected by injuries.
“I think it is taking care of your holistic development which includes physical and mental states, because mentally you cannot boost yourself if you are physically not strong as your body will not respond. Your body needs to be fit for your mind to think something and body to follow.” – the Indian captain said.
2. Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes is a sensational cricketer who never misses to awestruck every spectator with his fitness level. For a player like Stokes, his passion for his team makes him push beyond his fitness limit.
One cannot perform the Headingley Test innings right after the long and tiring World cup season. It requires some serious power beyond human measures.
Speaking of preparation: Stokes’ weightlifting routine the day before the match days and his routine 2km run within minuscule duration during his fitness session makes his cricketing innards ready to roar for the events.
The skillset of a player is crafted to perfection when the player works on his fitness; Ben Stokes is an excellent example of it.
“Ben is the leading example of how far you can push. I look at every player in terms of the percentage of what they can achieve and where they are at and Stokesy could nail down another 20 per cent physical improvement on top of what he has already done.” Phil Scott, the fitness coach of England, wrote in a Daily Mail column on Stokes ahead of the fourth Ashes test in 2019.
3. David Warner
One could easily witness the energy flow in this Australian body when he is on the field. David Warner possesses the speed and strength which no other players could match.
Hill sprinting and climbing have been the unique workouts this scary Australian opener takes on to remain fit for his job with his pads on.
His lightning speed in running-between the wicket and the quick-handed pull shots to send the balls above the roofs of the mighty Australian grounds acts as the testament for his brawniness.
Forget the twos near the boundary lines where David Warner stands; he stands apart with the little time he consumes to reach the ball and his robust shoulder that would merely find seconds to shoot the ball to the keeper.
“One of the hardest exercises for David was hill sprinting. You have to sprint over a slope; it is basically running along with climbing. It might be a harsh exercise, but it improves stamina, endurance and leg strength. It helps a batsman to gain more speed, and he can run longer without getting tired.” says Wayne Geber, the coach, and mentor of David Warner.
4. Pat Cummins
The script of this hulky Australian bowler is different from the others on the list. The injury-prone Cummins remained marooned for five years after his debut Test to play his second Test match.
Five years of patience, frustration, resilience, and the attitude to never give up, led the Australian travel in a race car to the No.1 Test bowler spot. Two years of continuous cricket (2018 & 19) without a break has fetched 103 wickets in 20 Tests he played for the yellow squad in the white dress.
Albeit, the second innings of Pat Cummins was even more stringent. Being more productive with the ball, Cummins had to repeat the job of bowling more number of long spells for his side. But this time, he is ready with the sound body that would protect him from injuries.
Pat Cummins had to say this when asked about his transformation from the injury-prone body to a bulletproof body:
“There’s no shortcut.”
The fitness culture of the Australian bowler’s been into has lifted him from zero, and it’s now carrying him beyond the limits.
5. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja is all about speed. The blurry image is too fast to see with our eyes and the possessor of the utmost accuracy to hit the stumps.
The rocket-armer Jadeja is undoubtedly the one who makes the quickest throws in cricket. The accuracy he produces, along with the storming speed, is a rare skill set you can find in international cricket.
No matter how far the ball is from him, the Saurashtra cricketer is adamant in reaching the ball as quickly as possible. As a byproduct of this intention and speed, he pulls off the blinders too often effortlessly. Ravindra Jadeja is a master-class in fielding, and his unquenchable fitness is paying the price.
“Look at Jadeja, probably the most natural athlete in the world and the fittest fielder I have seen in my life.” says the Indian performance coach Shankar Basu.
“He is an enigma. The way he moves on the field, he is easily a best fielder by a country mile. He is one guy who did things on his own, didn’t spend too much time in the gym. He was a road runner and I understood that very early and let him be. So it was all about horses for courses. “