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The tactical tweak that helped Jones turn the tables on Hadlee

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Dean Jones, while in conversation with Shane Watson on Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast, recalled how he fought back against Richard Hadlee, after the former New Zealand pace ace had knocked him over a few times.

“I had a problem with Hadlee, I had a problem with Curtly [Amborse], a little bit. Hadlee knocked me over a lot and I had to find a way,” Jones said. “When Hadlee knocked me over, I was nicking off everything, getting lbws, he just had me with beautiful line and length. Dad sat there, we sat there for five hours over a beer, ‘Why is he ripping you apart? What does he do better than most?’”

The former Australia batsman revealed he ultimately decided to bat a meter outside the crease to nullify Hadlee’s immaculate line and length. It worked.

“So he [dad] is trying to get me to get the answer, he knew the answer,” he recalled. “Took a few beers and he said I’ve got the answer, and he said he bowls line and length better than anyone else in the world. [He] bowled close to 140 at times, Richard, and he couldn’t do anything else. So I batted a meter out of my crease.

“And I had to take some ownership in the decision. Dad didn’t want to say that you need to do this. He said, ‘Well I’m going to stand here and wait for you to actually make that decision. What are you going to do? He bowls line and length so what are you going to do?’

“I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘work it out’. And then I said, ‘I’m going to bat a meter out.’ And [then he’s like], ‘Right, finally we’re getting there.’

“And then he [Hadlee] didn’t get me out at all. I took him on, smacked him and hit him all over the place in one-dayers. I didn’t play much Test cricket [after that] but I had found the answer to play against him.”

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