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Interview with Jason Douglas/ S&C Coach of Afghanistan Cricket Team

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Jason Douglas has 7+ years’ experience in the world of performance analysis and strength and conditioning. Graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, he is the Chief Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).

His previous roles included work with the Cape Cobras (Domestic team in South Africa) and the semi-professional Western Province Team. Before joining the ACB he was involved with Cricket Namibia as a consultant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Performance Analyst.

"At Sports Medicine Department here at ACB we have identified fitness of most of the players in Afghanistan to be below the level that is required for them to compete competitively against test nations on regular occasions. There should be no reason why the Afghan players’ fitness levels cannot be the same as that of England, Australia, and South Africa. In a year or two when Afghanistan participated in test cricket this push towards fitter and stronger players will help us compete on international level”, said Douglas.

Q1. How often players need to train? 

A simple answer here would be ‘Every Day’, but there are a lot of factors to be considered, namely which part of the season they are in (pre-season, in-season etc.). Even for the average adult the American College of Sports Medicine advocates that ‘most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for ≥30 min·d−1on ≥5 d·wk'.

This does not mean however that I do not advocate rest to the players as rest is one component that is just as important as training. I feel that players should be engaged in some sort of training each day be it a rehabilitation/mobility session or pool/ recovery session.

Q2. How long have you been working with Afghanistan Cricket Board?

I have been involved with ACB for roughly 2 years and 5 months.

Q3. Can you tell us more about Noor Ali, Hameed Hassan and the type of injuries they went through? 

Noor Ali had calf tear, and Hameed Hassan had Hernia, a Ligament tear of the conjoin tendon ad also have some fatty reducible hernia.

Noor Ali tear is almost recovered and now working with us in the fitness and will be completely rehab in December, 2016.

Hamid Hassan has appointment on 27th October, 2016 in Nuffield Leicester Hospital UK. He need to rest for 3 to 4 months.

Q4. Who else did you identify as an upcoming talent during this period? 

Well, the talent I came across are Naveen Ul Haq, Yamin Ahmadzai and Najib Zadran. These three are great performers and special talent.

Zadran’s skills were far more developed then other players and he was very mature for his age. We are closely working with Under-19 and National team and we had to balance all-rounders fitness with their batting and bowling skills. We paid special attention to them, Zadran, Ahmadzai and Haq are an asset for motherland. Haq is positive player and one day he will rise as star player for Afghan Cricket.

Q5. Several players of late including Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran and Sami Shinwari have been on the fitness list. How are they faring? 

We have just started our training here in Kabul with these players. We are about to complete the first week, for some it has been a challenging period, but I feel that everyone has exceeded the expectations I had from them.

The primary goal of these players is to lose weight, however during this period we will be focusing on other areas of improvement as well. We still have a long road to travel together to achieve goals I have set for them. Through hard work and dedication I believe that they will all be leaner, fitter and stronger by the start of 2017.

Running man: Rahmat Shah runs and Jason Douglas pulls on a rope attached during fitness training session

Q6. Which player was the hardest to deal with during fitness training? 

All the players in Afghanistan are naturally gifted when it comes to strength. This can be seen in the Shpageeza Cricket League as most find it easy to clear the boundary. So my hardest task is the ‘anaerobic training drills’ I put them through.

So I wouldn’t really single out one as the hardest to deal with. It is all about education, educating the players as to how the drills we do will benefit them in the match situations. The better they understand how it will equate into increased ball delivery speeds or hitting distance, or better fielding the more likely they are to buy into the training exercises and to get the best in the sessions.

I say to each guy during each of my sessions “Give your Best”. Some need to be pushed harder but they know what I expect from them.

Q7. Who is the fittest player you have worked with?

Whether you're a cricketer or not, you have to maintain a healthy fitness level in order to have a healthy life. Overall some of the fitter players in the squad are Mohammad Nabi and Yamin Ahmadzai.

Q8. What is the importance of nutrition for success and performance?

Cricket has become faster and more demanding to the human body so correct nutrition is much more important.

Q9. What is your advice for fitness and good health?

There are no shortcuts to success. Hard work, dedication and consistent commitment is the key to success. Not only in cricket but for all sports and life we need dedication and consistency.

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