New Delhi, November 12: Keeping in sync with skipper Virat Kohli's uncompromising training regimen, the Indian cricketers are now undergoing DNA test that reveals the genetic fitness blueprint of an individual, raising the bar to a level hitherto unseen. The test helps a sportsman improve his speed, in fat burning, endurance, recovery time, and muscle building.
It has been learnt that the BCCI has introduced this test on recommendation of team trainer Shankar Basu, so that a more comprehensive fitness programme for the national team can be chalked out. The DNA test, or genetic fitness test, gives an idea about how 40 plus genes are related to a person's fitness, health, and nutrition. Each cricketer's DNA data is then combined with the environmental data - which is the individual's body weight and diet, for an all-round analysis.
"Yes, we have started the DNA test for the Indian cricket team for some time now. It is basically in line with the new fitness parameters, which has been set by the team management. The DNA test was first introduced in the NBA (basketball) and the NFL in the United States.
"The idea was mooted by Shankar Basu and it has proved to be extremely beneficial. For conducting each and every player's test, the BCCI spends between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 which is a nominal amount," a senior BCCI official said.
Earlier, the Indian cricket team used to undergo Skinfold Test for body fat measure percentage and then switched to DEXA test. "Skinfold test was used primarily for a long time but it was found out that results related to body fat percentage were not accurate enough. Then there was a switch to DEXA test for calculation of body fat percentage.
"The DNA test is being done so that the body's needs are known to maintain a particular fat percentage," the official, who is aware about the module, further added.
As of now, the permissible body fat percentage limit for a senior national team player is 23 percent, which is standard for most of the international cricket teams, including Pakistan and New Zealand. It is learnt that some of the cricketers did not know why, after rigorous amount of training, they were not able to bring down their fat percentage to a certain level.
"Some of them have been having copious amount of milk since childhood as it is a common belief that milk gives you strength. Then they found out that despite training, their body is not able to measure up to the demands of modern day game.
"When this test started, some players understood that they are lactose intolerant or some who have fetish for mutton biryani know what their body needs after eating a particular kind of food," he added.
One of the players whose strength and stamina has tremendously improved has been pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been consistently playing ODIs and T20 Internationals. Since the start of Champions Trophy, Bhuvneshwar has played 19 ODIs and and 7 T20 Internationals, purely because of a new fitness routine that was prepared after getting his genetic fitness report. The DNA test is believed to test the body's abilities and what kind of diet and exercise are most effective for a particular player.