All cricketers will subject to a fitness test before they qualify to play in the national team, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said.
The Minister addressing the weekly Cabinet briefing stressed that no exception would be made to the rule in future, “Whether they are popular or not, all will have to be fit to play”, he said.
He further explained that fitness was not a qualification to play thus far and that has been to the detriment of the team, “We need players to play 10 overs in a 50 over match, not just four”, the minister said as he pointed out that certain players had up to 20 percent of body fat though the recommended level was 12.
“I am not saying the Sri Lanka cricket team has no talent, they are very talented but when we play with international teams, we notice the difference in fitness between our players and theirs. This a common problem in Sri Lankan cricket”, he said.
Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara further noted fitness should be built from a younger age and it needed to be mandatory for players playing in Under 13, Under 17 and Under 15 teams,
“We don’t have fitness tests at these levels but other countries subject their younger players to fitness tests to build their endurance, so when they are older, they are fit”, he noted.
The Sports Minister observed that when fitness was not part of the regiment from a younger age, the older the player gets, the more prone to injury he becomes.
The lack of fitness in the team, he said was also a concern voiced by the coaches of the team.