Abstract

Cricket-bowling performance is known to be influenced by speed of ball release and accuracy. Currently, training sessions typically involve fielding-specific drills and conditioning exercises. Scientific evidence for inclusion of a comprehensive yoga intervention in daily training and exercise sessions remains unexplored. The present study explored the effect of yoga on bowling performance and physical fitness in cricket bowlers. Sports fitness testing and training were conducted among 60 non-elite recreational-club male cricket players aged 13–25 years. Cricket-bowling speed was e valuated using a speed radar gun, accuracy with a test developed by Portus et al., cardiorespiratory endurance using the yo-yo intermittent recovery test, lower-extremity and trunk strength using a back-leg dynamometer, upper-limb power using a medicine ball–throw test, power using a vertical-jump test, and flexibility using a sit-and-reach test. In addition to bowling practice, the yoga intervention group (n = 30) performed pranayama and standing and prone asana, whereas the control group (n = 30) practiced conventional conditioning exercises, for 45 minutes/day, three times a week, for 12 weeks. Improvement in bowling speed, accuracy, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility were comparable between the two groups. Statistically significant improvements in baseline scores in bowling speed, accuracy, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle flexibility, strength, and power were comparable between the two groups of non-elite male cricket players. Bowling speed improved by 6.52% in the yoga group and by 5.18% in the control group. Bowling accuracy improved by 35.40% in the yoga group and by 31.29% in the control group. Additional research on long-duration intervention in elite players may help to establish the role of yoga in conventional cricket-bowling training.

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