Zaheer said the two bowlers have so far shown a lot of promise at the highest level for which he could afford to bowl first change in One-dayers in recent times.
"I think their (Pathan and Balaji) emergence is a good sign for Indian cricket. Fast bowling is a tough job and I am happy that they have come through. They have worked hard and have to now sustain that level and keep improving," Zaheer said.
The 25-year-old pace bowler from Baroda, returning into the team after a gap of nearly two months because of a hamstring injury sustained during the Australian tour, said he knew the tour of Pakistan was "going to be tough" for him.
"I knew it will be tough for me, coming back from injury. I had not played competitive cricket for two months and needed some time to get my rhythm back.
"I am improving after every match and its just a matter of bowling more overs," he explained. Zaheer struggled for his rhythm and proved to be quite expensive conceding as many as 291 runs in 45 overs during the five-match One-day series against Pakistan, completing his full quota of 10 overs just twice.
"Its tough to return from injury and play in One-dayers. The wickets had nothing to offer for the fast bowlers, it was a struggle," said Zaheer, who has captured 82 wickets in 28 Tests for an average of 34.71.
"Fast bowling is all about maintaining discipline and putting the ball in the right areas. Once you start doing that everything else will fall in place," he said.
On how he felt bowling first change in the One-day series, he said, "it was a decision taken by the team management, and I respect it. The management felt that Pathan and Balaji could provide the initial breakthroughs and that's why they have been given the new ball. Any fast bowler would like to open the bowling." Zaheer said the first-ever One-day series triumph on Pakistan soil had dispelled the notion that the Indians were 'chokers' in crunch matches.
"The last match of the series was a pressure game. We all played very well to win a One-day series in Pakistan for the first time. It is a great feeling as many had suggested that we are chokers." On how he tried to adjust to conditions in Pakistan after bowling on bouncy tracks in Australia, he said "its all about maintaining discipline, that's the most important thing on any track. You have to strive to do that. One-day cricket is a batsman's game but the bowlers have just go out and give their best".