Dean Jones, the former Australia batsman, has died of a heart attack aged 59. Jones was in Mumbai as part of the commentary team at Star Sports for IPL 2020 when he passed away on Thursday, 24 September.
A gritty, attacking player, the Victorian featured in 52 Tests, making 3631 runs at an average of 46.55. In 164 ODIs, he made 6068 runs, at 44.61, with seven hundreds and 46 fifties. He was part of Australia's winning team in the 1987 Men's Cricket World Cup and remains No.5 on the all-time ICC Batting Rankings in the format.
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.
That was just his third Test, coming two years after his debut against West Indies in 1984. With plenty to prove, he came out at No.3, and stayed in the middle for 330 minutes, despite being sick on the field and finding himself in hospital at the end of the knock.
"One hour into day two I knew I was in trouble," he said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo about the innings. "I didn't drink anything apart from a cup of tea or coffee. We didn't know anything about dehydration and rehydration back then. Then I just batted from memory basically. I can't remember much from 120 on. I know nearly every shot in every innings I played. I can't remember a thing after 120 in that innings."
Incidentally, he said he was sick the night before his Test debut too, and called the 48 he made in his first innings on a difficult pitch one his best knocks.
Jones went on to make 10 more hundreds, with a career-best 216 against West Indies in Adelaide in 1989. But it was in ODIs that he really made his name, gaining a reputation as an attacking batsman and a fast runner between the wickets – and, by his own admission, also the first player to wear sunglasses on the field. He attained a high of 918 ranking points on the ICC Men's ODI Rankings for Batting in March 1991, putting him fifth on the all-time list.
"Winning the 1987 World Cup in front of about 100,000 in Kolkata will remain the biggest moment of my career," he had said.
He retired from international cricket in 1994 – much too early, according to his supporters, but went on to play first-class cricket till the 1997/98 season. After his retirement, he pursued an interest in golf. He went on to coach New Zealand, Afghanistan, and teams in leagues in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. He was also was a regular in commentary boxes around the world.
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."