‘Gone too soon’: Shocked cricket world united in grief
World cricket is mourning one of its great revolutionaries and characters, following the shock death of Aussie great Dean Jones.
The legend of the 1986 tied Test in Madras and one of the finest one-day international players the game has ever seen, Jones suffered a heart attack in Mumbai, where he was stationed to commentate on the IPL for broadcaster Star Sports.
It's understood former star Brett Lee was on the scene and performed CPR on the 59-year-old, but was unable to save Jones' life.
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Jones is survived by his wife Jane and two daughters, Phoebe and Isabella.
The television crew working with Jones are understood to be in a distressed state following his shock collapse around the middle of the day in Mumbai, with former cricket greats Brian Lara, Graeme Swann, Lee and Sunil Gavaskar among those staying with him in the same hotel.
"It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Dean Mervyn Jones AM. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest," said Star Sports India in a statement.
"We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time. We are in touch with the Australian High Commission to make the necessary arrangements."
Jones was one of Australia's most popular cricketers and changed the way one-day cricket was played.
The proud Victorian was part of the Australian team that caused a stunning upset to win the 1987 World Cup against all odds, in a moment that lifted Australian cricket out of its darkest period.
Former captain Allan Border was distressed by the news of Jones' passing.
"He revolutionised the game and I loved him," Border said.
"When he scored his 200 in Madras he was so dehydrated but he kept going. At 170 I said 'if you can't keep going I'll get a Queenslander on.'
"I can't believe this news but I'd like to pay tribute to Brett Lee for everything he did.
"Deano was unbelievable at the Test level but his aggression at the one-day level will be remembered forever.
"He loved his family, cricket golf and wine. I loved batting with him and he backed me and for that I will always love him."
His most famous innings was the stunning double century he made in Madras in the Tied Test in 1986 in excruciatingly hot conditions, when he defied extreme physical illness to stay out in the middle.
Justin Langer paid tribute to Jones.
"What a great player and a great bloke," he said in a statement. "We are shocked and very sad to hear of his passing.
"Deano was a true legend of Australian sport and world cricket, one of the great players and personalities in a golden time for the game. His role in the team's World Cup win in 1987 and the 1989 Ashes under AB were a huge turning point for Australian cricket.
"His double century in Madras was one of the greatest and most courageous innings of all time.
"We can only hope to make Australians as proud of our team as they were of Deano, he will be missed by the game and millions of people around the world. Our love to Jane and the girls."
Cricket Australia Chairman Earl Eddings paid tribute to the 52-Test batting icon, who scored 3631 runs at an average of 46.55.
"Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game," said Eddings.
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"Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played.
"Although many remember him for his brilliance in the 50-over game, arguably Jones' finest moment in the national team came in scorching conditions in Chennai in 1986, where his selfless and courageous innings of 210 helped Australia to a famous tie against India.
"Jones remained an immensely popular figure in Australian and Victorian cricket throughout his life.
"This is a truly sad day. Deano's loss will be felt not just at home in Australia, but across the globe."
Jones has been a household voice in television and radio commentary over the past decade and was a respected cricket coach in Pakistan.
He was raised in a tough school by father Barney, who was a legend of the Carlton Cricket Club in Melbourne.
Jones batted at No.3 for Carlton at a very young age playing under former Test great Keith Stackpole.
He developed into a very exciting Sheffield Shield cricketer at a young age, and in one of his first games made a gritty 50 against Dennis Lillee in Perth.
The response from his captain Graham Yallop was to tell Jones it was the worst 50 he'd seen in first-class cricket. Tough school.
Jones was an often polarising influence, but universally respected as one of the game's great talents.
He revolutionised one-day cricket with his running between the wickets and superb fielding and his willingness to take the bowling on - and was arguably for a period the best white-ball player in cricket.
Australian cricket had its worst ever period in the wake of the retirements of Greg Chappell, Lillee and Rod Marsh, and it was Jones, along with the likes of David Boon, Merv Hughes and Mark Taylor who helped breathe new life into the baggy green.
CRICKET AND SPORTING WORLD REACTS
I can not believe the news on Australian Cricketer Dean Jones. Only 59. Gone way too young. So sad. Wonderful talent. Condolences to all his family and friends. RIP Dean Jones.— PhilGould15 (@PhilGould15) September 24, 2020
Still in shock hearing the news of Deanos passing. Thoughts are with Jane and the family at this incredibly tough time. A great man with an amazing passion for the game.— Aaron Finch (@AaronFinch5) September 24, 2020
Absolutely heartbreaking news about Dean Jones passing away.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 24, 2020
A wonderful soul taken away too soon. Had the opportunity to play against him during my first tour of Australia.
May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to his loved ones. 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/u6oEY1h7zz
I can’t believe this news. So very sad to hear about this. Rip Deano, you will be missed. pic.twitter.com/Mc8h36gnWe— David Warner (@davidwarner31) September 24, 2020
Shocked to hear about the tragic loss of Dean Jones. Praying for strength and courage to his family and friends. 🙏🏻— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) September 24, 2020
Dean Jones was my hero throughout my entire teens. He was the soundtrack of my summer. The swagger, the quick singles, the swashbuckling heroics. Then the outrage as the tried to find a way back into the Test side. When Deano was batting, you didn’t dare miss a single ball... pic.twitter.com/QrkaR7QZx3— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) September 24, 2020
Saddened to hear the news of Dean Jones passing away. Still cannot believe it. Was one of my favourite commentators, he was on air in many of my landmarks. Had really fond memories with him. Will miss him. pic.twitter.com/FZBTqIEGdx— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) September 24, 2020
Originally published as 'Gone too soon': Shocked cricket world united in grief
RIP Dean Jones. Great character of cricket, and superstar player. Thoughts are with his family @NewsCorpCricket— Ben Horne (@BenHorne8) September 24, 2020
Shocking news... This year gets even worse. Was joking with Deano last week about carrying a red book with me to the match. Terrible... My heartfelt Condolences to the family. 🙏🏽— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) September 24, 2020