Dean Jones (March 1961-September 2020): He was quick all the way!

Updated: 25 September, 2020 07:26 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

A tribute to a gritty servant of the game, an innovator and a mentor for many in recent years

Dean Jones
Dean Jones

DEAN Jones, 59, who collapsed to his death after a cardiac arrest in the city on Thursday while on duty as a TV expert for the Indian Premier League, was swift and practical in everything he did. He was hare-like when it came to running between wickets, scored his runs fast and was never keen on an unwarranted stay at the crease. Jones was part of Australia's 1987 World Cup-winning squad which beat England in the final at Kolkata.

When he reached 176 enroute his epic 210 against India in the 1986 Tied Test at Chennai, a dehydrated Jones told his captain Allan Border that he wanted to go off because he was ruining the proceedings due to constant vomiting. Border suggested that he was a weak Victorian, to which Jones responded by telling Border that he would shove his bat into him and that he couldn't be spoken to like that. Jones stayed and went on to play one of, if not the most courageous knocks in Australian cricket history.

Undoubtedly, Jones was one of the finest one-day batsmen of his time but to underplay his Test match prowess would be unfair. He played 52 Tests, coincidentally the same number as Sir Don Bradman.

Australia’s middle-order batsman Dean Jones plays an off-side shot during his 216 in the fifth Test against West Indies at the Adelaide Oval during the Australian summer of 1988-89. PIC/GETTY IMAGES
Australia’s middle-order batsman Dean Jones plays an off-side shot during his 216 in the fifth Test against West Indies at the Adelaide Oval during the Australian summer of 1988-89. PIC/GETTY IMAGES

He once asked Bradman how he would've played the West Indian quicks in their pomp. And Bradman, according to Jones in his 2017 book, Cricket Tips published by Westland, said he would take strike a few centimetres outside leg stump. "His reasoning was that with a look at the three stumps, the bowlers would be lured into pitching up more, which is what you wanted as a batsman," wrote Jones. Wonder whether that helped Jones, who did face the West Indies when they were mean, mighty and magnificent.

Also Read: Former Australian Cricketer Dean Jones Passes Away in Mumbai After suffering Cardiac Arrest; tributes pour in

He took a double hundred off Viv Richards's Test attack that comprised Malcolm Marshall, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose, and Courtney Walsh at the Adelaide Oval in 1989, but always considered the Tied Test 210 as a career high. However, he told me in 2004 that there was one innings which impressed Border more than that Chennai gem. "We batted our backsides off on a huge turner in Mumbai later in the [1986-87] series. I was batting with Border. We got through to lunch. I went bang, bang, bang and got to 60 before the new ball was due and Allan said to me, 'Now you are a tough Test player. What you've done today has impressed me more than the 200 in Madras.' Gee, I felt 10 feet tall on the flight back home that night [October 19, 1986]," he recalled.

Jones leaves Mumbai again. Sadly, this will be his final journey.

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First Published: 25 September, 2020 07:24 IST

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