BCCI wants fitness camp before IPL

Fringe players have been asked to report to the NCA.

Nets at the NCA (File photo)

In a weird move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided that certain players — mostly those on the fringes and probable India players of the future — need to undergo a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore before participating in the Indian Premier League.

While the move is understandable at the start of the season when players are coming back from a break or if there is a gap in the domestic calendar and the players have been home.

But with the domestic season in full flow, most of them have either played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy or the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, or both. And the move, as is the case with most of the Board’s decisions in the recent years, does not make much sense.

One of the players who had been called to attend the fitness test confirmed the BCCI’s decision to have the players attend the test.

"Yes, we were informed that the board wanted us to go to the NCA and undergo a fitness test ahead of the IPL,” he told Mail Today.

Another player, when asked if he found any sense behind the decision, refused to comment — obviously not too keen to rub the Board officials the wrong way.

But an official from one of the IPL franchises found the move strange.

And he went on to say that it didn’t seem to have any logic.

"The Board must have thought of some reason which definitely missed our eyes because these guys have been playing non-stop on the domestic circuit — proof enough of their fitness. I could understand if the players were tested at the start of a season or maybe in between the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

But to undergo tests when you are competing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy or you have just played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy makes no sense to me.

"Also, it hampers our preparations for the IPL as they are all integral to our scheme of things in the tournament,” the official told Mail Today.

The Board definitely seems to have a strong affinity for the NCA and every time something or the other happens, players are sent there. Be it to rehabilitate injured players or for any preparatory camp ahead of a major series — as was the case with the camp ahead of the current India-Australia contest — NCA seems to be the most preferred location.