Far away from the public eye, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan are sweating it out to make a comeback to the national team. India's World Cup stars have hired private trainer Tim Exeter and spending hours in a southern French town to regain peak fitness. Their target: the 2015 World Cup, Down Under.
Yuvraj last played for India in an ODI series against England in January, where he scored just one half-century. He was ignored for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June due to fitness and form. The 32-year-old left-hander is now attempting to play for India in the limited-overs series against Australia in October-November this year.
"My immediate goal is to acquire prime fitness. This long lay-off has given me enough time to assess my fitness and game and work on the areas I need to improve. Currently Zaheer and I are working with Exeter. He has created a world-class setup for individual training and it has worked very well for me so far. It's a beautiful, isolated place. Natural surroundings inspire you to work hard and keep you fresh," Yuvraj told a leading newspaper in an email interview.
Exeter is a famous name in the sporting world. He runs a high intensity performance center in Brive-La-Gaillarde area in southern France and is currently working with Yuvraj and Zaheer. Exeter has worked with rugby teams and trained Welsh soccer star Ryan Giggs.
Yuvraj, who struggled with fitness during the Indian Premier League, says he has started feeling fitter and stronger. "This training schedule of four-five hours every day is extremely exhausting and leaves you drained. But with each passing day I am feeling fitter and stronger," he said.
The talented all-rounder is eyeing domestic cricket in September so that he can impress the selectors. "I am sure with some good knocks and quality time in the middle, things will fall in place. I want to take it one step at a time. I am confident about the outcome," said Yuvraj, adding: "Hopefully, the coming season will turn things around. I am giving my best. That is what I can do. Rest is destiny. 2015 is very much a goal. I am really determined to make it happen," he added.