India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has been put on standby for the upcoming England tour even as batsman Rohit Sharma gears up to take the Yo-Yo fitness test - the latest benchmark for selection in the national team.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it mandatory for the players to clear the Yo-Yo test in order to get selected in the team.
"Going forward, players will be picked after they pass the fitness test. The players gave the fitness test after being picked for the UK tour because of the IPL. It puts the players in an awkward situation and it will not be repeated," news agency PTI quoted a BCCI official as saying.
Almost all the players, including skipper Virat Kohli, have comfortably cleared the qualifying mark for the Yo-Yo test. Ambati Rayudu is the only player in the UK-bound squad, who has failed to clear the fitness test and was subsequently replaced by Suresh Raina.
A player must score a minimum of 16.1 in the Yo-Yo test to be eligible to play for the country.
According to reports, Rohit, after skipping the June 15th Yo-Yo test, had appeared for the same on Sunday (June 17) at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. However, the Mumbai batsman failed to clear the test on Sunday and requested the BCCI to give him more time.
The BCCI then granted Rohit the permission to appear for the test on Tuesday. However, the batsman once again failed to appear for the same. It is now being said that Rohit will appear for the test on Wednesday and if he fails to clear it, he will be replaced.
Meanwhile, reports also suggest that Rohit failed to clear the Yo-Yo test twice during the Indian Premier League season 11 and due to this Rahane has been put on standby just in case he needs to replace Rohit.
A PTI report on Tuesday claimed that the BCCI has decided to conduct fitness tests of players before they are picked in the national team to avoid embarrassing late withdrawals like the ones by Mohammad Shami and Ambati Rayudu from the Test and ODI sides after failing the Yo-Yo test.
Sanju Samson was the third cricketer who could not pass the mandatory fitness test after being named in the India A ODI squad for the UK tour.
Rayudu, who had made a comeback to the Indian ODI side after a prolific IPL, too was not able to attain the fitness standard set by the team management. Therefore, Raina replaced him for the ODI series in England.
Shami, who has had off the field troubles of late, also could not ace the Yo-Yo test and was replaced by Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini in the squad for the historic Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru.
The pacer will get another opportunity to prove his fitness before the team for the five Tests against England is picked.
India will tour Ireland for T20 Internationals scheduled for June 27 and 29.
The tour of England, comprising three T20 Internationals, three ODIs and five Test matches, starts on July 3.
"There is nothing new in having a stand by. In case the necessity arises, Rahane is being seen as a reserve opener and will fill in that role. As of now, we have not heard that Rohit has any fitness issues," a senior BCCI official, who has worked closely with the cricket operations team, told PTI.
The entire limited overs squad (except those who were playing Afghanistan Test match), took the YoYo test at the NCA on June 15 save Rohit.