Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones, one of the finest batsmen of his generation, died in India on Thursday from cardiac arrest aged 59, Star India said, prompting emotional tributes from the Australian prime minister and fellow players.
Jones, who was in Mumbai as part of Star India’s commentary panel for the Indian Premier League, won the World Cup with Australia in 1987 and played 52 Tests and 164 one-day internationals in an international career that spanned 10 years from 1984.
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to “an absolute cricketing legend” as he sent his condolences to Jones’s family.
“A true entertainer at the crease, whose flair with the bat and electric running between the wickets changed the game forever. A genuine good guy & a huge loss,” Morrison tweeted.
Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar said he was heartbroken.
“A wonderful soul taken away too soon,” Tendulkar said. “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.”
One of Jones’s most memorable innings came in the tied Test against India in Chennai in 1986, when he battled extreme heat and physical exhaustion to notch a memorable double century.
“His double century in Madras was one of the greatest and most courageous innings of all time,” Australia coach Justin Langer said, while also praising Jones for his role in the 1987 World Cup win and 1989 Ashes series which Australia won 4-0.
“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.”
Jones ended his career with 3,631 runs in Tests at an average of 46.55 with 11 hundreds and 14 half-centuries, and over 6,000 runs in ODIs with seven centuries and 46 fifties.
‘One of a kind’
Earl Eddings, chair of Cricket Australia, said Jones would be sorely missed by fans around the world.
“Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game,” Eddings said in a statement.
The cricketing fraternity took to social media to pay tribute.
“I can’t believe this news. So very sad to hear about this. Rip Deano,” Australian batsman David Warner tweeted while Steve Smith said Jones was a “wonderful player for Australia” who would be missed.
Former Australian batsman Darren Lehmann said: “Dean Jones ... taught me so much on and off the ground. I and all of the cricketing world will miss him. Our thoughts are with Jane and the family at this time.”
Ramiz Raja, who worked with Jones as a co-commentator, said the news had left him in complete shock.
“One of a kind you were Deano and how lonely and helpless you must have felt on your own in that hotel room... RIP my friend,” Raja tweeted.
Jones retired from all forms of cricket in 1998, going on to work as a coach and commentator. He was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019.