Le Roux played a key role in getting Zaheer back to top fitness at a time when the national selectors had begun running out of patience with the paceman as he was struggling with form and fitness. They even dropped him for the fourth Test against England, sending out a strong message to the veteran.
In his comeback to competitive cricket last month, Zaheer claimed seven wickets in the two first-class games against the West Indies ‘A’. Thereafter, the Mumbai skipper has had a rollicking start to his Ranji Trophy, claiming 13 wickets in three matches thus far.
“It is exciting news that Zak is back. This (selection in the team) is a perfect reward for all the commitment and hard work he has shown during his training programme,” Le Roux told MiD DAY from his Sports Performance Clinic in Bloemfontein yesterday.
Dogged with a history of breaking down during matches, Zaheer underwent a rigourous training programme, first in France with Tim Exeter and then in South Africa under Le Roux.
“There was nothing specific that I worked on with Zaheer. It was total body conditioning,” informed Le Roux, who previously had stints with the Indian team (2001-2003), the Proteas (2003-2007) and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
Le Roux said Zaheer was determined to get back to full fitness. “At no point did he try to avoid training. He was always geared up to work harder. He was totally committed to his fitness.
“As a fast bowler he is aware that fitness is a key factor to perform well. He wants to play cricket for as long as possible,” said the renowned trainer.