Fitness for 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.

With the introduction of one day Cricket and more recently Twenty20, the game has gone through major changes and the physical demands made on a cricketer's body have also increased dramatically.

Depending on the version of the game being played and the role of the player in the team, the importance of fitness will vary: the fitness requirements of a fast bowler will be greater and also different than that of an opening batsman, and one-day cricket will be more demanding than a test match.

Since Cricket is a team sport, all of the players are required to be in action. It takes lots of stamina for bowlers to throw the ball fast, accurate and without overstepping. The fielders must be alert and at vigil all the time. They must sprint, chase the leather and make a dive to stop the ball before it crosses the boundary line. The batsman must require the stamina to run continuously between the wickets and the power needed to execute big shots. The umpires too require lots of endurance and flexibility to perform their duties. But the most ‘fittest’ player in a cricket game is undoubtedly the wicket-keeper. Chirping and hoping behind the stumps, a wicket-keeper has to continuously stand on his toes. A wicket-keeper displays phenomenal level of physicality. 

BATSMAN - Batsman are the brand ambassadors of the game. Crowds flock to witness big hitting (read 4s and 6s) and so a high degree of attractiveness of the game rests on batsman. Although batsman use their skills to score through the gaps or use the kinetic energy of the ball by slightly changing the direction, but physical fitness can bring in unprecedented level of success. Take for example, the mighty-muscular Chris Gayle. The West Indian opener hardly makes any foot movement but still manages to clear the boundaries far and clear. He uses his muscle power and gigantic physique to smash the ball all over the park. He stands and delivers, and is the most feared openers in the world. The power in this case, comes from having a strong core, abdominal mid-section that will help to generate explosive upper body actions.

FIELDER - Fielding is not as easy as it seems so. Fielders require ability to deliver concentrated effort for 7 hours in a One Day game and for 5 days in a Test Match. Fatigue means nothing for them and they have to perform their duty even in cold, sunny and rainy conditions. They just don’t have to survive through the day- but run after the ball, jump for a catch or make that bold dive, risking their body. To become a good fielder, keep your body moving whilst on the pitch and stretch muscles whenever possible.

cricket bowlerBOWLER - Apart from the bowling skills, a bowler needs to maintain a very high level of physical fitness. If a bowler is not in excellent fitness shape, it can lead to inaccurate bowling and increased risk of injury. Since bowlers exert pressure on their arms to throw the ball, muscular strength is required.

Here is some more information relating to fitness for cricket.

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