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Ivan Thomas relishes working with former South African international star Allan Donald

By Josh Fordham

Kent bowler Ivan Thomas believes he has come back a much better cricketer after spending 10 weeks in South Africa working with Allan Donald.

Thomas and Calum Haggett travelled to Cape Town to work with the former international star ahead of Donald taking up his role as Kent’s assistant coach this month.

Injuries decimated the 26-year-old’s county season last year but he’s hoping this work over the winter will set him up well for this summer.

Ivan Thomas. Picture: Chris Davey.
Ivan Thomas. Picture: Chris Davey.

Thomas said: “It was an amazing experience. Tactically and physically, I think I’ve come back a much better player.

“One of the main things I’ve brought back is how to remain fit throughout the whole year.

“I talked a lot to him about how he managed to play at the top level season in season out for years on end. It was a lot of tactical work on using the crease and manipulating the ball in my hand.

“Technique was not a massive thing for him as he is a big believer that if you’ve got something that works, then you should stick with it.”

Donald was due to join Kent as assistant coach in 2017 but visa issues meant his arrival has been delayed until this year.

The South African is still waiting on the results of his Level 3 coaching qualification before he can work in the UK but once he does join, Thomas believes it will have a positive impact on the squad.

Thomas said: “He will bring in that other view and is someone who has played every pressure level there is.

“He’s played World Cup finals and in Test match cricket against some of the best sides in the world. His ability to see things in batters and knowledge of how batters play will make a huge difference at Kent this year.

“I initially messaged him while I was still here and started my message with ‘Hello Sir’ and was trying to be really respectful and he messaged back saying ‘please don’t call me sir, maybe in 10 years’ time’.

“He’s chilled and relaxed. He welcomed me into his family and it was an amazing

trip.”

Ivan Thomas. Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Ivan Thomas. Picture: Barry Goodwin.

Thomas spent extra time in South Africa so he could bowl at the South African squad ahead of their Test series with India, which started last

week.

He added: “It is always nice to test yourself against some of the best players in the world. It is a great experience.”

Allan Donald is due to join up with the Kent squad later this month on their pre-season tour in Antigua.

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