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Where are they now: Steffan Jones

In the 10 years since Steffan Jones last played for the County, not only has he become Director of Sports Performance & Well Being at Wellington School, but he has also created quite a reputation for himself as a fast bowling coach on the world stage.

Recently the former Somerset favourite achieved his biggest accolade to date when he was appointed as the bowling coach for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League tournament that is taking place in the spring.

“It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for me and I am absolutely over the moon,” he said when we spoke to him. “I’m really excited about getting going and testing myself as a coach at the very top level.”

It all seems a long time ago that the Welshman made his debut for Somerset back in 1997 after impressing former umpire Ray Julian when he was bowling for Cambridge University, who recommended him to Somerset.

Between then and 2008 the paceman played in 84 First Class matches for the County in which he scored over 1400 runs including two centuries and took 224 wickets at an average of 36.79 with a best of six for 61.

In addition Steffan played in 138 List A matches  in which he captured 197 wickets at 28.47 with a best of five for 23.

Steffan made his mark for Somerset early in 1998 when he claimed his career best five for 23 from eight overs to see Somerset to victory over Warwickshire in the 40-over Axa League in 1998.

Probably his finest hour for the county came in 2001 when he captured the final wicket to fall in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Cup Final at Lord’s against Leicestershire to enable Somerset win their first silverware for 18 years.

“I still watch that last wicket on You Tube and the celebrations afterwards,” he said. “In 2001 it just clicked for me bowling in partnership with Richard Johnson. I bowled nearly 600 overs and took 59 wickets at 34.15 to help lift the County to second place in the Championship behind Yorkshire.”

There were to be other highlights in Steffan’s career with Somerset but not until he had been away and spent 2004 and 2005 with Northants and 2006 at Derbyshire.

By the time he returned in 2007, Andy Caddick and Charl Willoughby led the attack but Steffan played his part and contributed to the team’s success.

He had a good season in 2008 and in the eight matches he played he claimed 26 wickets at 28.81 each, despite being left out at times. That season he claimed two five-fers, both against Kent, to help Somerset record the double over them.

That was his last season at Taunton, after which he went out on loan first to Kent and then to Derbyshire where he signed a two year contract which included a coaching role as well as playing.

At the end of the 2009 season, while he was still playing, Steffan became involved at Wellington School, initially helping out with rugby coaching, which in turn led to him being offered a job as Head of Cricket and Strength & Conditioning, which he eventually accepted.

Since then he has become Director of Sport Performance & Well Being at Wellington, which he combines during the holiday with running his Pace Lab, which is based on sports science and data for which he has a growing reputation.

“In my school holidays I travel the world with my Pace Lab,” he explained. “We have bases in Bangalore and Toronto, in addition to which I have spent time as bowling coach with Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash where I worked with Stuart Broad and Shaun Tait.”

It was while Steffan was out in Bangalore recently that this latest coaching job came about.

“I was at my Pace Lab hub in Bangalore at the Rahul Dravid Academy, when the general manager of the Rajasthan Royals made contact and said he wanted to chat with me. He came and met me and asked my views on different things, about the way I coach, the technical, tactical and physical side of it and what I could offer.

“They then came back and said they’d like to offer me the job of bowling coach which I was really happy about.”

Steffan talked about how he combines his coaching with his role at Wellington School.

“During term time I work full time as Director of Sport at Wellington School, but in the holidays I’m involved with PaceLab, which is my passion.

“I’ve got a week out in India in January and then I’m out there for March, April and May, which means I’ve got three months leave from school.

“Wellington School have been absolutely great about things for me. There can’t be too many schools in England that have got IPL coaches working in them!

“I’m going to be involved with a team of international players with international coaches in the IPL, the best tournament in the world.”

Steffan added: “This is a great advert for those of us who are still outside of the game and it shows you can still make a name for yourself if you have knowledge.”

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