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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Deano ! is no more !!


Not many would remember that Rudra Pratap Singh [the Senior !] – another left arm fast bowler played in only 2 ODIs (bowled just 82 deliveries)  ending up with a solitary wicket of the man sadly  in news today  !

I remember watch him play in that  that match at MA Chidambaram stadium, Madras  - ODI no. 453,   3rd Match of  Reliance World Cup on   Oct 9 1987.    Navjot Singh Sidhu & Tom Moody debuted and this man got out to Maninder Singh, who failed to score one run as India lost the match by 1 run after blitzkrieg from Sidhu and 70 from Srikkanth – but why blame him – chasing 271 (there was some howler that gave 2 runs extra !) Indians were cruising at 246/5 – then wickets fell in a heap ! - 6-246 (Ravi Shastri), 7-256 (Kapil Dev), 8-256 (Roger Binny), 9-265 (Manoj Prabhakar), 10-269 (Maninder Singh)

Have heard him commenting on the box ~ but this interview of his [from & Sydney Morning Herald] made a  very interesting read.  Titled  ‘Rags do not come any redder’  - it reported that  Dean Jones always fancied himself as a bit of a matador but he got it badly wrong when, in a World Series final, he asked Curtly Ambrose to remove his white wristbands. "He was definitely trying some form of camouflage," Jones said. "I didn't think much of it at the time." Ambrose did. He took off his wristbands and tore Australia asunder with 5 for 32.

Dean Jones enjoyed a 10-year international career after rising through the cricketing ranks with Victoria, making his debut for Australia in 1984 and going on to win 52 Test caps and play in 164 one-day internationals. The right-hander enjoyed good success in Test cricket, averaging 46.5 and compiling 11 centuries. Among these was a career-best 210 during the tied Test against India in Chennai in 1986, an innings of eight and a half hours during which he battled dehydration throughout and ended up on an intravenous drip. But it was as an innovator in one-day cricket he will perhaps best be remembered, pioneering an aggressive, fleet-footed approach to batting that returned seven centuries and helped Australia to claim their first World Cup victory in 1987.

Jones had been working on the TV coverage of the Indian Premier League and suffered a cardiac arrest around midday on Thursday at the Trident hotel, where he and his fellow pundits had been staying. Brett Lee, the former Australia fast bowler, attempted to revive Jones after he collapsed in his room, with his death later confirmed after he arrived at a hospital in south Mumbai via ambulance.

He travelled widely, but was drawn to the sub-continent. He was part of TNPL and travelled by road to Dindigul for matches at Natham ground.   He coached Islamabad United in the inaugural Pakistan Super League in 2016 and won it, a cherished achievement. He repeated it two years later.

Dean Jones came into side in 1984 after Graham Yallop had to pull out due to injury . He was not picked in the original XI, but was drafted into the side after another player too fell ill.  Between 1984 and 1992, Jones played 52 Test matches for Australia, scoring 3,631 runs, including 11 centuries, at an average of 46.55.  We remember him well – for he played in that epic Tied Test at Chepauk in 1986 where he made 210  but was frequently vomiting in the ground due to dehydration.  It was stated that he  wanted to go off the field "retired ill" which led his captain Allan Border to say that if he could not handle the conditions, "then let's get a real Australian" (Greg Ritchie, a Queenslander like Border, was the next man in to bat). This comment spurred Jones  !!!!

Sad today, Australian and world cricket has been left stunned by the sudden death of Hall of Famer Dean Jones.  An adventurous Test batsman, one-day pioneer, coach-for-hire and ever lively commentator and columnist, Jones suffered a massive heart attack while on assignment in Mumbai with Star TV. He was 59. Jones - Deano to all - left indelible marks on the sport of cricket and on the people who knew him.

Here is something excerpted from that Dean Jones interview :  Many people ask me why I was stupid enough to ask Curtly Ambrose to take his sweat bands off. It become a massive international incident in the cricket world back then and completely changed the fortunes of the West Indies on their 1992-93 tour of Australia. Curtly Ambrose was a very difficult bowler to face. Apart from being tall, quick and nasty, his hand, just before release, always moved around a lot and it was so hard to read a bouncer or length ball. His hand action was something similar to the way you would sprinkle salt and pepper over your food.  Then add in the fact that Ambrose wore these white sweat bands, bowling a white ball, and it just caused massive concerns to all batsmen being able to pick the ball properly out of his hand.

My first ball from Ambrose was a ripper. It was quick and short and flew past my right ear. I then asked politely for Ambrose to take his sweat bands off. Everyone, from the players to the fans, were in a state of shock. I noticed Ambrose starting to froth up around his mouth and you could hear a pin drop it was that quiet. What broke the silence was when I noticed a guy who was carrying four schooners who yelled out, "You bloody idiot, Jones!"  Well the next three deliveries were probably the quickest I ever faced! I was thinking, "What the hell have I done?" I have a compound fracture of the right thumb and a hand I can't feel. And when the umpire called "over", I had 11 West Indians and one Australian batsman sledging me! Mark Taylor was furious. Tubby yelled out, "What are you doing? I have two kids. What are you thinking?"   My poor judgment created quite a stir at the time. Ambrose got so mad he took 5-32 and the Windies went on to smash us. Two days later, in the second final at the MCG, Ambrose was still furious and bowled like the wind and took 3-26 to wrap up a series win.

~  interesting anecdotes .. ..  Dean Jones was a respected commentator, sad, he is no more! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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