In any sphere of life, as the financial stakes go up, competition intensifies and the ‘ask’ for elite performers ramps up. Women’s cricket is currently going through a rapid phase of financialisation – courtesy the megabucks Indian women’s cricket is injecting into the global game – with the result being a sharp improvement in fitness standards. Four months ago, India’s women lost a World Cup final to Australia by a hair’s breadth which could be proxied by the gap in fitness standards between the two teams. So, what are the Indian women doing to catch-up? As per this Cricinfo article:
“In May, the senior women’s selection panel picked 30 “targeted players” for an intense camp in Bengaluru. The notable highlights were the implementation of the Athlete Monitoring System (AMS) and Injury Prevention (IP)….
So, what is AMS?
It’s a software that monitors fatigue, sleep, mood, menstrual cycle and non-sport stressors to mitigate injury risks and maximise performance. It helps monitor data, workloads, past injuries, rehab cycles, performance post-injuries.
Why is it significant for women’s cricket now?
It has helped the National Cricket Academy tailor roadmaps for each player to ensure their fitness levels continue to remain optimum. For starters, the yo-yo test has been replaced by the one-mile test, a DEXA scan to measure body-fat percentage, vertical jumps, broad jumps, 10- to 20-metre dash, and several endurance routines.”
Vidarbha captain Disha Kasat explains how the new routine is helping India’s cricketers: “With the lifts in gym, with our runs. Even fielding, we were taking 50 catches in every session. Everyone’s parameters improved from day one to the end of the camp…There’s a sense of purpose. If I have to go to my training venue, which is an at least an hour from my gym, I have to ensure that I am spending my time productively at the nets…”
Former India player VR Vanitha says, “AMS has ensured players aren’t under-training or over-training. Each player’s workload is mapped and it ensures there’s accountability from their part, even when they aren’t at the NCA. Now even the state teams are embracing this system. The data helps bring everything under one roof…”This system determines the extent of injuries, what the fitness levels of a player is at any given time…It monitors a player’s physical state even before they break down. Essentially, it’s an alarm to those monitoring. It helps tapering workloads if there are markers that suggest potential injury.”
And so the revolution in women’s cricket rumbles on.
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