Abu Dhabi: A summer boot camp in Brive La Gaillarde, France, has certainly paid off for India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh.
The southpaw will surely be indebted to the renowned fitness expert Tim Exeter, even more so after being reinstated to the India team for the upcoming series against Australia.
A rejuvenated Singh was chosen ahead of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir for the series after fighting back from being discarded after the ODI against England in Dharamshala in January.
Struggling with fitness concerns, Yuvraj along with pacer Zaheer Khan sought the help of Exeter, and what followed next was three weeks of rigorous training away from the media glare in a remote location in France.
“I’m glad to hear that he is back in the team. In fact, it’s fantastic and I was really happy when he got selected to lead India ‘A’. He really worked hard out here. He is such a great talent and hopefully he can kick on now,” Exeter told Gulf News from France.
Questions regarding Yuvraj’s fitness, however, were once again raised when he missed the first game of the Challenger Trophy due to a back spasm. And, despite not contributing much with the bat in the final, what seemed to have influenced the selectors was his innings of 84 against India Red in the second match.
“I’m not sure what sort of back spasm he had then but I don’t think it would be a recurring one. To me, he has come back into the best of shape,” said Exeter, adding, “I also know he always gives you a feeling that he is laid back, but that’s not the case. He is extremely hard-working and wants to go that extra mile. There is no question of him lacking determination or else he wouldn’t have come out this far after [his] ailment (cancer).”
Though the selectors gave Zaheer a cold shoulder for the forthcoming series, Exeter said he was confident that the veteran still had it in him to make a comeback.
“Unlike [Yuvraj], the most important thing for Zaheer was to lose weight and he lost five kilos. He was struggling with injuries and lost mobility but now can jump higher and has managed to gain pace.
“He is also very headstrong and it’s just a matter of time [until he comes back]. What he wanted was not to bowl fast but to keep swinging the ball consistently,” revealed Exeter, adding that the duo constantly keep in touch with him through phone calls.
“Once you get back in shape, what you need to do is follow up and they do keep updating me. They have to follow the training schedule that I have given them. Yuvi and Zaheer have also shown their willingness to come and train here again in between. It also depends on their tour schedule. I may also go to India soon. Hopefully I can check on them then.”