“He played some hard cricket, was passionate about Asian teams – Legendary Arjuna Ranatunga remembers Dean Jones

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones died of a stroke on Thursday in Mumbai. He was 59. Jones was in India to fulfill his commitments for the host broadcasters of the Indian Premier League. He suffered a massive heart attack at a hotel in Mumbai after 12 PM on Thursday.

Legendary Arjuna Ranatunga, finest captain in Sri Lanka cricket history, remembered Dean Jones as an incredibly competitive cricketers, who played the game with passion and pride.

“He was among very first superstars of Australian cricket. We played lot of cricket against each other and I have to say that he was  incredibly competitive. He was one of the best finisher of the game, I payed against, along with Pakistan great Javed Miandad. Also, he was always very passionate about subcontinent teams and was loved by everyone in Sri Lanka” Rantaunga told Cricket Age. 

Jones played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs for Australia during an international career which spanned 8 years between 1984 and 1992. He scored 3631 runs in red-ball cricket at an average of 46.55 with 11 hundreds and 14 half-centuries.

“More than statistics, he will be remembered for his passion and the way he payed his cricket. He was a tough opponent, who wore Australian cap with utmost pride. 59 is such a young age to leave and I am deeply saddened to hear about his demise. Thoughts are with his family at this incredibly tough time” the 1996 world cup winning Iconic captain added.

Popularly known as “Professor Deano”, he was famous for his attacking batting style as an opener. Jones played 245 first-class matches in which he amassed a total of 19,188 runs at an average of 51.85 with 55 centuries and 88 half-centuries.

During his prime, the former Australian batsman was all energy and aggression. He exuded an aura in One Day Internationals (ODI), with shots that blended the conventional and the unorthodox while embellishing it with frenetic running between the wickets. He was a sharp fielder too and he was part of the 1987 World Cup winning squad helmed by the indomitable Allan Border.

The International Cricket Council has also expressed sadness at the passing of Jones. In a statement, ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We are extremely sad to hear of Dean’s sudden death and I would like to extend our deep condolences to his family and friends on behalf of the ICC.

“Dean was a prolific batter playing in 52 Tests and 164 ODIs and was part of the 1987 Australia team who won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. He had a significant impact on the game of cricket as a player, as an advocate for the development of the sport as a coach and latterly in his role as a broadcaster. He will be sorely missed by all those in the cricket family.”

One of his most memorable Test innings came in 1986, when in the heat and humidity of Chennai, he battled exhaustion and illness to make a heroic 210 in what would be only the second tied Test ever.

He retired from international cricket in 1994 and went on to become a coach and more recently a broadcaster commentating on cricket around the world.

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N Krishnamurthy