Sport Dean Jones leaves behind a cricketing legacy that revolutionised the sport
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When he skipped his way into big-time cricket like a brash featherweight, they called him 'The Jones Boy'. By the time Dean Jones departed the international scene, he was history's man. Australia's batting wunderkind of the 1980s and '90s had done nothing less than revolutionise limited overs cricket.
To a generation of cricket-loving Australian children, Jones was a hero. To Victorians, he was something closer to a sporting martyr. The Melburnian devotion to Jones went far beyond reason. His slights at the hands of national selectors were received like blows to the soul. Years after his retirement, loyalists in the MCG outer persisted with their banners: "Bring back Deano".
Dean Jones's best cricketing moments, including Chennai double century, Ashes heroics and clash with Curtly Ambrose
We take a look back at some of Dean Jones's best moments for Australia and another that didn't go as planned for the daring, dashing and charismatic batsman, who helped to revolutionise the way the game was played.His fitness, fielding and style of play all came well before their time and the Victorian was also controversial and his career larger than most.
Now he will never be back.
Few can lay claim to changing the game so definitively in as many facets.
Foremost was his daredevil batting. In one-day internationals, Jones could be subtle and brutal in the space of a minute. He dictated terms, using the width of his crease and the full 360 degrees to set new standards. Australia's unexpected World Cup win of 1987 came under the uncompromising direction of Bob Simpson and Allan Border, but it carried plenty of Jones' hallmarks too.
An image endures of his frenetic, career-best 145 against England in 1990, when he spent the afternoon raining sixes on the old Gabba dog track.
Cricket world reacts to Jones' tragic passing
Australian cricketing legend Dean Jones has died aged 59 after suffering a heart attack in Mumbai, India.Jones was staying at a Mumbai hotel as part of his duties on the commentary team for Star India, the country's biggest cricket broadcaster.
Moments after hoicking poor Martin Bicknell for an absurd, one-handed six over fine leg, Jones threw every ounce of his weight into a lofted, straight drive towards the commentary box containing Richie Benaud and Geoffrey Boycott. Purring with delight, Benaud issued one of his classic lines: "Just reach out and catch it, Geoffrey." At home, it felt like the ball would crash through the screen. Jones was bombastic.
He played 'like a man possessed'
Any consideration of Jones' role in re-imagining the possibilities of the limited overs game should also include ground fielding and running between the wickets — afterthoughts to many of his peers. Jones approached both like a man possessed, stealing and saving runs as though Australia's fortunes depended on it.
His confidence could be mistaken for arrogance, but even some of his outlandish innovations soon became accepted wisdom. When he tried a reverse sweep during the 1987 World Cup, Simpson sent out a message: "If you play that shot again you'll never play for Australia again." Now it's common practice. Until Jones and his polarised sunglasses came along, fieldsmen had squinted into the sun for generations. He was ridiculed for wearing them. Soon enough everybody did. He was a one-man production line of marginal gains.
The Dean Jones Cup would add to a legend's legacy
Through cricket seasons I’ve enjoyed the commentary of Jim Maxwell, David Lloyd, Michael Holding and especially Richie Benaud. To that I add the newspaper columns of Dean Jones. They were my favourite part of the Sunday papers. Jones wrote so passionately it was as if he was shouting into your ear in a crowded bar. He critiqued batting, bowling, field placements, coaching, on-field tactics and individual player capability. Jones as a cricket writer was fearless. He expressed views straight from the heart. He got it right nearly every time.
The highlight videos filling news bulletins today will focus on Jones' audacious strokeplay and his balletic advances towards hapless bowlers. They will miss subtler delights: Jones dashing into the outfield and turning three into two, his arm like a missile launcher aimed an inch above the bails; when the tables were turned, his aggressive running could scramble the minds and limbs of outfielders, causing them to fumble at the crucial moment.
In cricket and in life he was impetuous, cocky, sometimes obstreperous. He was a maker of enemies and scenes, mostly due to overflows of the same passion that fuelled his brilliance. He nursed a righteous sense of injustice for opportunities he felt he was denied as a player and coach, but he loved the game, and always came back for more.
The insatiable desire to win came from a similar place to his need to prove doubters wrong.
Just as Jones delighted in goading opponents (who could forget his self-endangering demand that Curtly Ambrose remove his white wristbands?), he could be needled too.
The tale of his golfing skirmish with Sir Donald Bradman might be the best. Bradman pointed to trees obscuring the green on a dog-leg par four, telling Jones he hit over them in his youth. Of course, Jones tried and failed, prompting Bradman's observation they'd only been knee-height all those decades earlier.
The distressing cost of Jones' greatest innings
His 210 in Madras in 1986 is one of Test cricket's finest performances, but it took a huge personal toll on Dean Jones.The Australian team of the mid-1980s was not a happy place to be. Following the retirements of Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh in January 1984, the side had won just three of the 25 tests played prior to their departure for India in August 1986.
The MCG would erupt for him like it would for no other
Jones was of a generation of superstars instantly identifiable by their first names: Viv, Javed, Merv, Imran. Thanks to the inefficiencies of Australian informality, Jones was Deano — to teammates and his adoring public. Only Richards out-swaggered Jones on the way to the crease. Like Viv, Jones chewed gum like it was a secondary competition within the game.
To stand on the southern side of the MCG when Jones strutted to the crease during a day-night game was to understand Hemingway's endless platitudes for bullfighters.
The roar of the Melbourne crowd was unlike anything enjoyed by others. A lesser sporting ego would have been carried to the wicket by the noise. Jones felt like it was nothing more than his due. If he got going with that crowd behind him, no bowler was safe. Death in the afternoon? Murder under lights.
It is often said his Test career was squandered. Depending on who is talking, either Jones or the Australian selectors were at fault, but 52 Tests, 3,631 runs, 11 centuries and an average of 46.55 do not speak of an obvious hard luck story. He arrived on the Test scene to replace batting icons, and as sad as it was, all-time greats replaced him too.
, when Jones batted through nausea, leg cramps, vomiting and well-timed insults from his captain when it seemed too tough to go on. The numbers are still the subject of wonder: 50-degree heat, 503 minutes, 330 deliveries, eight kilograms lost, one trip to hospital. The 210 runs acquired, a mythic glow.
Shane Warne reveals the final message Dean Jones sent him before death
Warne revealed he heard from his former teammate as recently as last week, when he touched down in Dubai for the IPL. 'I posted a picture on social media, and he texted me straight away, with a picture of him and Brett Lee and all the other commentators,' Warne said. The former bowler paid tribute to the 'innovator' and 'maverick' in a written piece published by News Corp on Saturday. The 51-year-old recalled the pair's 30 years of friendship and their memories both on and off the pitch.
Not many remember that Jones was only 23 when his long-form career reached that apotheosis; it was his first Test century.
Fewer still recall that two days later, Jones made 48 in a washed-out one-day international. You could attribute that to his bloody-mindedness and ego, but it was equally the result of his endless quest for perfection.
Shortly before departing for that tour, Jones flew to Sydney so he could lunch with Ian Chappell and pose a simple question to the previous generation's swashbuckler: 'How do I get better?'
Only in recent years did Jones share the physical toll that Madras took on him; on hot days, he'd shake like leaf. He said if you could bottle that feeling, it would be banned under the Geneva convention.
Jones transcended cricketing tradition
More than most sports, cricket has a habit of reducing careers and lives to a series of numbers and feats. To some extent, Dean Jones transcended such analyses.
Deeper was his cultural resonance among the last of Australia's pre-internet sports stars. A generation of kids adopted Jones' Kookaburra Bubble bat as their own, slathered their bottom lips in zinc, took guard with Jones's exaggerated spread of the legs, then charged down the wicket with abandon. Never taking a backward step, Jones made them believe the ball was always there to be hit.
His death comes as an almighty jolt, the premature end of an innings that brought un-cynical joy. It makes you think of the way he used to walk back to the pavilion; only Jones could do it with such theatre.
To this day, you still see park-grade batsmen spit out their gum and slap it like a forehand with the face of their bats. It is mimicry of Dean Jones, decades on from his last professional game. They didn't just love him, they wanted to be him.
Supporters rally around Dean Jones' grieving son and ex-mistress .
Dean Jones' former mistress has thanked well-wishers for the messages and gifts she and their son Koby have been inundated with as they mourn the tragic death of the Australian cricket great.The former Australian right-handed batsman died from a massive heart attack in his hotel lobby in Mumbai, India on Thursday aged 59.