Aussie cricket great Dean Jones dies

Former Australia Test and ODI batsman Dean Jones has died at the age of 59.
Former Australia Test and ODI batsman Dean Jones has died at the age of 59.

Australian cricket is in mourning after former Test star Dean Jones died of a heart attack in India, aged 59.

Jones had been in Mumbai commentating on the Indian Premier League, and had appeared in coverage as recently as this week.

"Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game," Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said.

"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.

"This is a truly sad day. Deano's loss will be felt not just at home in Australia, but across the globe.

"Our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe."

Australia coach Justin Langer said Jones was an integral to the rebuilding of the Test and ODI side that went on to dominate the sport for nearly 20 years.

"What a great player and a great bloke. We are shocked and very sad to hear of his passing," Langer said.

"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."

A classy right-handed batsman, Jones played in an era of great change in Australian cricket.

He played his first of 52 Tests against the mighty West Indies at Port of Spain in 1982 with his most famous innings his double century in the tied Madras Test in 1986.

There, he spent more than eight hours at the crease in 42C heat and severe humidity for his 210.

It earned him not only a place in Australian cricket folklore, but left him on a drip in hospital after losing eight kilos and any memory of the second half of his innings.

Former Australia coach Bob Simpson said he had not "seen a braver innings".

"He was running on adrenaline," Simpson told Cricinfo.

"During breaks we would have one bloke waiting to take off his pads and another would strip him and put him in an ice bath just to try and revitalise him. It was immensely courageous."

For all his toughness shown in that innings, Jones led the way with his aggression in the white-ball game during an era where teams were still cautious with their ODI batting.

His 6068 runs in the format was the second highest of all-time when he played his last match in 1994, while his strike-rate of 72.56 was also brisk for that era.

He played with flamboyance, not afraid to walk down the pitch to bowlers, attacked when running between the wickets and saved runs in the field.

The end of his time in Australia's Test team was controversial, with his axing in 1992 still one of the most perplexing in Australian cricket.

Tributes poured in for one of the most popular batsmen of his generation on Thursday night.

"Awful to hear the news of Dean Jones passing away in Mumbai," Steve Smith posted on social media.

"He was a wonderful player for Australia and he will be missed. My thoughts are with his family."

Damien Fleming added: "Stunned by the news of Dean Jones's passing. Always a Larger then life personality. Brilliant player. Condolences to Jane and family."

Jones was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019.

DEAN JONES' CRICKET CAREER FOR AUSTRALIA

Tests: 52

Runs: 3631

Centuries: 11

Average: 46.55

High score: 216

ODIs: 164

Runs: 6068

Centuries: 7

Average: 44.61

High score: 145

Australian Associated Press