In the run-up to the ICC Men’s World Cup that takes place in India in October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has instructed that Yo-Yo and Dexa Tests will now be an important part of the team selection criteria. The BCCI made the announcement after a review meeting in Mumbai, on Sunday, that was conducted in the presence of, but not limited to, head coach Rahul Dravid and India captain Rohit Sharma.

Here are the key recommendations as informed by the BCCI that came out of the senior men’s team review meeting:

  • The emerging players will have to play a substantial domestic season to be eligible for selection to the national team.
  • The Yo-Yo Test and Dexa [scans] will now be part of selection criteria and implemented in the customized roadmaps of the central pool of players.
  • Keeping in mind the Men’s FTP and preparations for ICC CWC 2023, the NCA will work in tandem with the IPL Franchisee to monitor the targeted Indian players participating in the IPL 2023.

The Yo-Yo test is no stranger to Indian cricket, as it had played been introduced to the team in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup in England.

This time around though, the BCCI is looking to monitor the workload of each player given the packed schedule – in terms of the Indian Premier League and the upcoming series at home against Sri Lanka and Australia. Keeping that in mind, the Dexa test has been introduced.

What is the Dexa test?

Dexa test or DXA test is Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. The test essentially measures bone density using low dose X-rays to see how dense, that is strong, the bones are. As per UK NHS, “During a bone density scan, a type of X-ray called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is passed through your body. This is shortened to DEXA.”

But through that it is also used to establish body fat percentage, along with lean muscle mass, water content and bone density. The NHS says that these scans “use a much lower level of radiation than standard X-ray” and hence very safe.

It’s been seen as a method to establish fat percentage for a while now, as this excerpt from a 2017 Conversation article suggests.

The best way to accurately assess the amount of body fat a person has is to use imaging technology to scan inside the body. These scans include well-known imaging techniques such as MRI or CT scans, but also lesser known techniques, such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scans.

The DEXA scan uses X-rays to give highly accurate measurements of the total weights of fat, lean tissue and bone minerals. This level of information and accuracy makes DEXA stand out among methods of estimating body fat. 

“It helps you understand where the fat is and whether the training methods are yielding the result,” Ramji Srinivasan, the former India strength and conditioning coach, said to The Indian Express.

“It is all linked to a cycle. It is part of testing protocols which should have become mandatory long back. Some teams have been doing this for 10 years. It is a fool-proof method. Skinfold can be manipulated and each time different results can show up. But with Dexa it will be uniform and the data will be used for the future as well.”

Of late, injuries occurring at crucial moments have hampered the men’s national team’s performances at important events. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja – both instrumental players in the Indian line-up – were forced to miss the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year due to back and knee injuries respectively.

India last won a senior ICC event when the MS Dhoni-led team won the 2013 Champions Trophy.

(Note: At this stage, it is not clear if Yo-Yo and Dexa tests are only part of the men’s senior team selection process or the women’s senior team too.)