Brief profile of Dean Jones
by Matthew Reed

Player:DM Jones

DateLine: 12th December 2005


Dean Jones was an essential part of the team which dragged Australia from mid 80ís mediocrities to the premier cricketing world power. As a batsman, his extraordinary natural talent allowed him to mostly get away with his aggressive tendency to play across the line, something he did more than most other middle order Test batsmen. Most of the photographs of Jones in his pomp show a man with bat and arms in the air, with mulletted hair sitting snugly (and smugly) beneath a baggy green cap. However, to dismiss Jones as merely being a fun loving, cross batted blaster, would be unfair. In the famous tied Madras Test of September 1986, he batted for over eight hours for his 210. Impressive enough in any conditions, although such was the airless heat of the conditions that on being dismissed he was rushed to hospital and put on a saline drip. Throughout that knock he had been close to retiring on several occasions (though was kept on by the calculated, anti-Victorian goads of Allan Border), and he later recalled that the latter half of his innings was a series of energy saving blocks and energy sapping attacking shots. Although that showed an extreme level of mental willpower, it also demonstrated just what talent levels Jones possessed for him to be able to score boundaries in such a moribund physical condition.


Jones was dropped from the Test team after the tour to Sri Lankan in 1992 (despite averaging 55 in the series) as the next generation of Damien Martyn and Justin Langer slowly pushed themselves in, and Jonesís rusty off-spin (which he later improved) was inferior to the bowling of the Waugh twins. It has since been said that Jones did his chances of a recall no good by stroppily carrying out twelfth man duties after that, although he kept his place in the limited-overs team for another couple of years. His uber-scampering of quick singles was a novelty in his time, and is a skill many contemporary batsmen still struggle with. However, Jones retired from international cricket in 1994 as he didnít want history to remember him solely as a pyjama clad player. He remained an excellent First-class batsman, with an unremarkable season for him being one where he averaged 50. Although he remained loyal to Victoria throughout his career, (and for many years held the record for the most runs scored in Sheffield Shield cricket) his time there, and especially his duration as captain, was not without fall-outs with those both above and below him. Similarly, he returned to Australia halfway through his second season in charge of English county Derbyshire, after alienating a majority of the squad. However, in mitigation he had transformed one of the English games eternal bridesmaids into an aggressive and very successful outfit, with their second place finish in the Championship being their highest for 60 years. In the seasons since his departure Derbyshire have returned to their place as seemingly perennial strugglers. Since retiring from Victoria at the end of 1997-8 he has coached and been a commentator for Indian TV, where viewers have been treated to the sight of a chalk in hand Jones dressed in mortar board and gown, as he has sought to take cricket analysis to an all-time expressive high. Much as he had often done with his batting.


December 2005

(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)


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