WITH modern technology and data surrounding sports science and physiotherapy being able to define and guide every top athletes decision it is sometimes interesting to look back at what it was like in the past.

For the sport of cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board have lead by example with their sports science program, setting up a Sport Science and Medicine department that steers the development of England and First Class County multidisciplinary support teams.

However back in 2002, it seemed that this sort of thing was up to the individual athlete to organise for themself.

One cricketer who did just that was former Somerset County Cricket Club bowler Steffan Jones.

Somerset County Gazette: jan 11th 2002 stefan computerised cricketer

In 2002 the County Gazette spoke to Steffan after he installed a computer in his home gym to keep track of his improvements and fitness.

In the article he was labelled the 'computerised cricketer' which seems somewhat comical now when you think of how in depth sports science is today.

As well as his computer installed in his gym, Steffan also purchased himself a 'handheld computer' which he took everywhere with him to keep updated on step counts and heart rate through out each day.

Something that a reasonably priced Fitbit would be able to do now in 2022 with ease, you can only imagine the costs of Steffan's 2001 hand held device, and the size of it.

In the article Steffan said he had set himself goals that the computers would help him track.

"I am aiming to increase my speed to 90 miles an hours and my target for next season is to take 70 championship wickets and 30 N.U.L wickets and score 500 runs."

"At the end of last season (2001) I took a two week break but since then, I've been back training harder than ever, working on my bowling and my batting," Jones said.

Somerset County Gazette: Steffan Jones in action

From the 2002 interview it seems as though Steffan was perhaps one of the first professional cricketers to take sports science and data more seriously.

Between his debut for Somerset in 1997 and his final game in 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.

Stefan Jones, the computerised cricketer, credit must be given to this Somerset fan favourite for his ahead of his time training ideals.