The news of Dean Jones’s passing has taken me completely by surprise. My memories of him are of us playing cricket, being young and fit, as we all were. That’s why this comes as a great surprise; he was still in his 50s.
He was a very competitive player. You knew when he was in your team that you were playing with a very good player, a man who succeeded most of the time. An excellent batsman in all formats, but really one of the best one-day batsmen of his time. He was revolutionary in the way he took to running between the wickets, he brought something extra to one-day cricket.
He was one of the fittest players in the side. He was very good chaser of the ball, a good catcher, very good hands, good arms. You could have him anywhere in the outfield. A lot of times in the ODIs he would be the sweeper cover. Cover and cover point were his key positions, where he stopped a lot of balls. he would change his angles when he fielded, which was a bit revolutionary in those days. He just an outstanding cricketer.
He was a very tough cricketer of course. I remember the double hundred in Chennai. The heat in the city is very tough, it was an extraordinary effort. He had a very competitive temperament, with a never say die spirit, one of the great characteristics you would like to see in your teammates.He probably learnt that from Allan Border or maybe his father who was a pretty competitive cricketer back in Victoria.
He was the core of the Australia side in the 80s.
He batted a bit higher in the one-day team, but in Test cricket, he just made the middle order a solid place to bat. You could just rely on him even if you lost early wickets to hold it together. A terrific player. It’s quite sad.