Senior trainer Koteswara Rao recently said fitness was paramount for a successful career in cricket, as it gave the decisive edge over rival players.

Speaking at a two-day workshop on fitness for the 20-odd budding trainers of the Andhra Cricket Association, which concluded on Sunday, at the ACA Central Zone Academy at Mangalagiri, Mr. Rao bemoaned the attitude of parents who were keen to ensure that their wards learn the technique rather than enhance their fitness level.

“Building a career in sports without fitness is like sprucing up a building without proper foundation,” Mr. Rao told the trainers from West Godavari, Prakasam, Krishna and Guntur districts.

He asked them to give equal and fair treatment to all players and constantly upgrade their knowledge of sports science. “As trainers, we should never deceive or mislead an athlete, for his or her career will be at stake. We should also discourage use of ergogenic and behaviour-modifying drugs,” he added.

Mr. Rao, who has been successfully associated with ACA junior teams, said specific stretching exercises twice a week had resulted in improved flexibility. “All stretches should be taken to the point of mild discomfort and not pain,” he added

Dwelling on other aspects, Mr. Rao said proper fitness in cricket reduced the risk of injuries and helped one maintain skill levels. He added: “It [fitness] also delays fatigue and helps in quick recovery”.

According to him, the common causes of injuries in cricket are faulty techniques, over-exercising, lack of preparation and poor fitness. The ultimate goal of a trainer is make sports safe and fitness fun-filled indulgence.

ACA joint secretary Ch. Arun Kumar, Central Zone secretary Koka Ramesh and chief coach J. Krishna Rao were present.