Dean Jones, the former Australia opener, has tragically passed away after a “sudden cardiac arrest”. He was 59.
Jones was in Mumbai for commentary and pundit duties with Star India for their coverage of IPL 2020. According to reports, he suffered the cardiac arrest at noon IST.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Dean Mervyn Jones AM,” Star India said in a statement. “He died of a sudden cardiac arrest. 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.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 24, 2020
“Dean Jones was one of the great ambassadors of the game associating himself with Cricket development across South Asia. He was passionate about discovering new talent and nurturing young Cricketers. He was a champion commentator whose presence and presentation of the game always brought joy to millions of fans. He will be sorely missed by everyone at Star and his millions of fans across the globe.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings said it was a “truly sad day” and that Jones would be missed by the whole cricket 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.
“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 and was a much-loved columnist and commentator in every corner of the cricketing world.
“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.”
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) September 24, 2020
Jones played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs for Australia, scoring 9,699 internationals runs from 1984 to 1994. He made a reputation as a courageous batsman, who was unstoppable when high on confidence. In just his fifth Test innings in 1986, he famously scored a double century, despite being ill at the crease in the heat and humidity of Chennai.
He needed to put on a saline drip in hospital soon after his innings, and admitted not remembering much of the innings later. But his runs would prove crucial as the match turned out to be only the second Test tied in history.
However, for all his achievements in Test cricket, Jones was considered a pioneering opener in the limited-overs game. His brave approach at the top of the order fit right in, and he helped Australia win the World Cup in 1987 in Kolkata.
Another career highlight was the 566 runs he scored, including two centuries and three half-centuries, as Australia won the Ashes in 1989. His performances in that series earned him a Wisden Cricketer of the Year award.
After his retirement from the sport in 1997/98, he has had stints as coach, managing New Zealand and Afghanistan, and coaching teams in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. He also became a popular voice in commentary.