The Role of Fitness in Cricket: A Comprehensive Guide

The Role of Fitness in Cricket: A Comprehensive Guide


Cricket has become a physically challenging sport. Role of Fitness in Cricket plays a huge impact in the modern sport

This article will discuss how Fitness in the world of cricket has evolved over the years and why.


Presented: Raghunath Nair

Date: 09/06/2023


When Test cricket was born, cricket used to be a game involving skills and endurance to play the long format game which involved hours of game time. Bowling and batting were the key pillars of the game.

The game was always remembered for its skill. It was acceptable to have bit of a flab as a cricketer then

It was only in the late 70s when fielding was seen as an important skillset.

With the entry of the limited over game, fielding came into prominence.  The physical aspect of the game increased. Fielding now became the third pillar of the sport.

Importance of Fitness

Modern cricket, apart from holding on to catches, requires fielder to run hard, throw his body on the line to stop the ball, pick himself up as quickly as possible to return the ball to effect a run out or keep the batsman from taking the extra run.

Bowlers have become faster and batsman has become more skilful.

These requirements make the player possess an athletic physical demeanour. Fitness now has taken an important role

The Role of Fitness in Cricket: A Comprehensive Guide

As mentioned early, cricket now has become more physically challenging a sport whether it is batting, bowling or fielding. Players need to be physically strong to handle the expectations of the sport.

Fitness now has become a key factor in a player’s selection.

Importance of Fitness

The shift in fitness level for Indian Cricket

Indian cricket was never known for their player’s fitness in the past but in the last decade, players in the Indian team have become fitter and now considered amongst the fittest teams along with Australia and England today.

India’s Virat Kohli, a fitness enthusiast brought in the culture of fitness into the team and made YO YO Test a compulsory fitness test for selections.

Fitness Regimes

Fitness Regimes

Every cricketer needs to undergo a specific proper strength and conditioning program to adjust to the modern cricket requirements.

The conditioning program helps the cricketer’s body to adapt quickly to sudden movements in the sport and reduces chances of physical injuries.

With three formats, the modern player has to be physically fit to be able to play internationals and franchise sport to avoid breakdowns.

While injuries are part of a sportsman’s journey, a fit player manages to recover from his injuries faster.

Fitness Regimes

Endurance, Sprint Fitness & Speed/Agility/Quickness (SAQ), Muscular Strength, Flexibility and Cricket specific training are requirements for a modern cricketer to have in his regular training program

Cycling, rowing and running are few of the popular ones.

Shuttle Sprints between 7 to 40 meters with cricket gears is a modern training style adopted

Warm up exercises to help the body stretched up along with dynamic movements help cricketers to move freely

In addition to their regular exercise, Cricketers need to follow a strict diet. Modern Players have personal professional trainers and nutritionist which only reiterates the importance of fitness

Good performers are physically fit and technically sound but consistent performers are also mentally strong. Team Management focuses on conducting Boot camps and team bonding activities to help cricketers cope with the stress involved in the modern sport

Top fit players of the modern era

Virat Kohli

David warner

Pat Cummins

Ben Stokes

Trent Bolt

Ravindra Jadeja

Glen Maxwell

Strength and conditioning for a Cricketer


A batsman’s training is different compared to a bowler. Batsman is required to be have more mobility and strength to run between the wickets with all the protective gear. He will need to continue to bat, run and dive if required wearing the protective gear. He will need to focus on weight training in the gym but maintain his training without compromising on his flexibility

Batting requires to use back, shoulders and biceps. The swing of the bat puts heavy toll on the back and on the whole body. Excercises focussed on these areas would be key . Situps, planking and crunches are useful and a must and should not be ignored


Fast Bowlers have the highest load on them as compared to slow/ spin bowlers. The load on the back and leg is very high and this often causes the bowler to get injured in these areas. The recovery time also for an injury as compared to other players is more for a fast bowler and they need to be well protected.

Due to a repetitive activity on field, bowlers tend to build better strength on their bowling arm but the delivery stride of the bowler is prone to injuries and constant conditioning is required.

For bowlers, exercises like  rotator cuff strengthening, rotator strength, and explosive movement are all recommended.


Fielders are required to be quick, agile and with extremely good reflexes. They will be placed in areas where the balls are hit the maximum. This requires an athletic body to enabling sprinting, which will require lower body strengthening along with focus on chest and shoulder workout for throwing the ball . Box Jumps and Frog Squats are great exercises for the player

Benefits of fitness in Playing cricket

  • It helps players to have improved endurance for playing for a longer period of time and maintain the competitive edge throughout the period.
  • Reflexes of a fit player is far better. It helps in enhaned agility and quickness while fielding and running between the wickets.
  • Cricket is a game which requires hand eye coordination and fitness improves the player to have better balance and coordination for effective shot making and also during fielding.
  • Fitness helps in increased strength helpful for batting, bowling and fielding.
  • It helps in maintaining consistent performance level and helps in executing skills at the optimum level.
  • A fit body helps in better Mental resilience and focus

Role of Coaches and Trainers in Cricket Fitness

Every team has a conditioning and fitness coach who work with players not only during matches but also during non-match days and during off season period. Based on the format the player plays, special programs are made to ensure that there is no overload on fitness programs to avoid physical exhaustion.

No program can be same. While lifting weights was never an advisable training method, Virat Kohli adopts this method as this suit his training needs.

Coaches and trainers also keep a strict eye on the eating habits of each player. Some players are genetically gifted with good physical attributes while some need to work that extra to maintain their basic fitness.

Responsibilities include

  • Evaluate cricketer’s fitness levels and health conditions
  • Build individualized exercise programs
  • Explain exercises in detail and suggest alternatives if needed
  • Monitor progress of cricketer’s fitness levels
  • Explain safe and proper use of gym equipment
  • Lead both individual and group training sessions
  • Research on new exercise techniques and trends



A player is required to run like a football player and be on the ground for 6 to 7 hours. A player with questionable fitness regime may not be considered for selection.

Players like Sarfaraz Khan and Prithvi Shaw, probably as talented as any in the current Indian team, are left out of the selection purely on fitness issues

Conclusion The Role of Fitness in Cricket: A Comprehensive Guide

Their selection will depend upon how soon the y can work on their fitness

One of the reason that women cricket has gained popularity is the improved fitness level amongst the players who are now able to hit 6s at will, bowl at a mean pace and have high scoring matches which makes great viewing

Today Cricketers are aware that fitness is not to be just physically fit and have a strong body , it also means being mentally fit

With Fitness, a cricketer is able to control his body and mind to improve performance. How well a players conditioning depends solely on the discipline of the individual to religiously follow a set fitness regime

Trivia for my readers:

Trivia for my readers

Currently playing cricket, this Indian International during his early days in domestic cricket fainted on the ground due to exhaustion. Lack of fitness was a wakeup call for this cricketer who focussed heavily on fitness along with his regular practice. He went on to represent India in all formats as one of the fittest Indian cricketers in the modern era

(Viewers can mail me and guess who this Indian cricketer was)

Demands of fitness level varies from player to player and the role he plays.



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