Cricket can be a sport in which physical fitness is traditionally not believed of as essential. The value of fitness in any sport can’t be underlined. The fitter you’re the much better you will play. But Cricket is one particular such sport which tests your game expertise, mental strength, stamina and physical endurance too. The good results in the last 2 decades by the Australian group has been attributed to their professionalism, and in aspect towards the way they addressed their fitness. The other test playing nations have rightfully placed extra emphasis on fitness lately and are reaping the positive aspects. Also the players have been closely working with personal trainers to take their fitness to next level.
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 perfect shape. 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.
Fitness varies with the role of the players…
Batsman are the brand ambassadors of the game. Crowds flock to witness big hitting 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. The power in this case, comes from having a strong core, abdominal mid-section that will help to generate explosive upper body actions.
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.
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.