Run production and low economy rates may not be the determining factors for players looking to make national cricket teams next year since the Guyana Cricket Board is expected to roll out its National Fitness Standards (NFS) next June.
According to Cricket Development Officer (CDO) of the Guyana Cricket Board, Reon King, “all players” will have to meet the national fitness standards to be eligible for selection.
Further, King pointed out that this system will not be launched until June 1 since the committee decided against suddenly implementing the policy without giving the players adequate notice.
The Cricket Development Committee (CDC) comprises King, Roger Harper, Mark Harper and Neil Barry.
“We have come up with the national fitness standards and we are about to roll it out, and the date I think we have set is June 1st, so the Guyana Cricket Board will have a national fitness standard which all players will have to meet. We thought it would have been unfair to throw it on them (players) as a national fitness standard at this time without giving them a chance at this time to get fit.
We have recommended to the GCB under the selectors’ control to let this (fitness) be a part of the criteria for selection and we have spoken with Mr. Raphael (Chairman of Selectors) and he is certainly on board with that,” King emphasised.
King revealed though that there is a fitness guideline for the players who will gain selection for the upcoming Caribbean T20 tournament in January.
He also indicated that the national standards will be in keeping with the mandate of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
The CDO stressed that there were discussions by the CDC regarding the low standard of the cricket being played and it was decided that there should be a turnaround.
“This is in keeping with what the WICB wants and there were talks of having a low standard which we discussed and we felt it was not the right thing to have a low standard for a player to bypass those standards at the national level. And because it is lower than the West Indies level means that they can do everything else but they are not fit enough so we have gone on level with the WICB standards and we want to go even a level above it.
“The WICB has mandated that all territorial teams do a fitness test which they have prescribed and we have gone through a series of tests including the beep test and there are more tests that have to be done,” the former WI fast bowler noted.
King stated that the NFS will follow a scientific approach, especially with the amount of information that is available. However, he did point out that players must also show the urgency to improve their skills and fitness levels.
Commenting on the fitness test that took place over the last two days at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, King said that the players have been receptive to the tests and he has seen improvements.
“The word is getting out that we at the GCB would like to see our players thinking that without fitness it could hamper them even playing for Guyana. The selectors are taking this seriously and I see Mr. (Claude) Raphael is here to view the sessions and the final 14 will be selected, awaiting the results of the fitness assessments,” the 35-year-old King said.