Sep 24, 2020
Losing Dean Jones Hurts
I’m rattling this off in the moments after I’ve learnt of Dean Jones death in India, so this is unlikely to be considered or a piece worth of the great man.
But wow, it hurts.
For many Australians of a certain vintage, Dean Jones is the reason we love cricket and sport.
I remember being so excited the day of a one dayer when he was playing.
I’d almost want our openers to go out just to watch him bat.
If Deano went out early I’d be devastated the rest of the day.
Those games in the eighties were just essential viewing.
There wasn’t the wall to wall cricket we get now. They didn’t feel meaningless, they felt like the most important thing in the world.
There also weren’t iPads, streaming services and all the myriad of entertainment we have today. A one dayer or a test was an event.
Most of us couldn’t even tape it, you had to watch it all live. You’d drop everything.
It was an exciting era, and Deano was the most exciting of them all.
I remember making a cricket bat and wrapping it in masking tape and writing a big Red C on it, just to make it look like one of his County bats. I should add I was a kid at the time, it would probably have been weird if I was an adult.
My first proper bat was a County too, and when I played at school or in the road with the kids in the street, you can bet I was Jones in my head.
I’m not going to run through his career, people who know cricket way better than me will do that over the next few days, but I can tell you it how it felt watching him tear apart an opposition.
It felt like lightning had struck you, but you never wanted it to end. Like anything could happen, that there were endless possibilities.
He was an enigma too, we didn’t get the level of access to the players then that we get now, and while I sensed some of the politics at play behind the scenes that kept him out of the team at times, I never actually knew what was going on.
It just made him seem even more apart from the real world the rest of us occupied.
Losing him hurts for so many of us because it’s like losing your childhood, the long summer parts of your formative years.
I know that doesn’t fully compare to what his close friends and family are probably feeling, but it’s a blow.
It sure feels like those summers of youth are just that much further away now.
My new book Cheat: The Not-so-subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory is now available for pre-order.
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