Sep 24, 2020

AFL

Losing Dean Jones Hurts

29 Comments

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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COMMENTS

Damo

Sep 24, 2020

My sediments precisely.
Vale Deano.

Rob

Sep 24, 2020

Thanks, you've said how I feel wonderfully. Vale, Deano, you were a hero to me.

Daniel

Sep 24, 2020

There are players who lit up our tellies at the most impressionable time. The sweet spot of inspiration. Dean was definitely right in that sweet spot. Etched his name into the national psyche when the news announced the bravest double ton in Madras. Maybe the bravest of all time. Delano did die but he didn’t die wondering. RIP Legend!

Gianni

Sep 24, 2020

Summed it up perfectly.

Kev

Sep 24, 2020

Well said Titus, he was often the reason to watch cricket at a time when we struggled do much. He made the game exciting, and changed it forever. I saved all my bucks to buy a County bat, I wielded it with less than a tenth of his talent, but holding that bat made me feel like I could achieve something. I didn't, in cricket, but it still made me feel special. RIP great man 😥

Neale

Sep 24, 2020

Absolute legend! Took it up everyone and in the finish treated abysmally by the ACB
Great article Titus

Paul Cocco

Sep 24, 2020

Beautiful words mate. For me he was just who every kid my age playing cricket wanted to be like. The chewing of the gum; the advancing down the wicket and clipping the ball over mid-wicket; not taking shit from any bowler. And I wanted to become a better fielder because of him. Why him? He was Victorian and he made sure everyone knew about it. RIP. Sad sad day.

D Choc M

Sep 24, 2020

Well captured indeed Titus. Like many, I wanted to be Deano playing cricket as a youngster & was liked being called “Jones Boy” by some teammates. My cricket bats changed stickers based on what he was using & I still have the Kookaburra bat which started its life as something different. Just terribly sad indeed, however his innings & fielding will always stand the test of time as a trailblazer, especially in ODIs. RIP Deano.

Morsey

Sep 24, 2020

Well said Titus! RIP DJ

Deano

Sep 24, 2020

Don’t worry your words did him proud Titus. A vivid account of playing and watching cricket in the 80’s and the profound impact Deano had on us, as Melburnians, Victorians and Australians. Vale Dean Jones.

Andrew Parkes

Sep 24, 2020

Brilliant words - well done. Summer for me as a kid = one day cricket = Deano

Rich

Sep 24, 2020

As a kid growing up in Victoria in the 80s and 90s when life was simple, I wanted to bat like Deano and bowl like Merv. Tonight I feel hollow and deflated, for a sportsman who never got the onfield farewell he deserved yo depart the earth so suddenly is a cruel blow.

craig cooper

Sep 24, 2020

i remember watching him live make a 200 here in adelaide in a test v india i think
he was one of the best

heavy heart tonight

Baldy

Sep 24, 2020

Adelaide Oval, I was a twenty something lad drinking beer in plastic cups on the hill.
Deano was fielding at 3rd man in a ODI against India.
Every over a couple of tennis balls would find their way onto the oval. They would end up in Deanos pocket, sometimes for 2 or 3 overs. Eventually he would hurl them back into the hill crowd to a rousing cheer. This would happen again and again throughout the Indian innings.
He made the day for us. He was at our level. And he seemed to enjoy it as much as us.
He was an amazing cricketer but he was also our hero.

Ron Collins

Sep 24, 2020

Fabulous sentiment Titus, Deano was certainly a player to emulate, I was always in awe of his ability and envious of those sweet innings.

Wilbur

Sep 24, 2020

Then the bubble and ridgeback

SteveOL

Sep 24, 2020

Ten years after he was the king if the kids at a Garry Sobers Cricket Camp in Ballarat, I saw him make 100 for a World XI against a full strength Australian XI in a one dayer at the ‘G after they had given him the arse. Brought up his ton with a six back over the bowler’s head. I just loved that bloke.

Dan

Sep 24, 2020

Marvellous reflection of an incredible time. I was right there with you Titus, in my formative years.
Vale Deano. An Aussie and Victorian cricket legend.

Hitchy

Sep 24, 2020

Amen Titus, amen

Hel

Sep 24, 2020

2020. I’m sorry, but what a bastard of a year.

Luke

Sep 24, 2020

Well written Titus....... when every game felt so important and not meaningless like many these days.
He made 216 n.o. at Adelaide Oval in 1989 against West Indies Craig. I also remember him hitting a huge six into the Moreton Bay Figs in a oneday game there.

Rosie

Sep 24, 2020

Perfectly said. The first - and only - time I made
a sign to take to the cricket as a kid “GO DEANO”. What a legend.

The Dude Abides

Sep 24, 2020

....'those summers of youth are just that much further away now'...

Beautiful and poignant tribute Titus. You have nailed it once again. A teardrop has found it's way to my pillow as I write.

RIP Deano, much love to family and friends.

the g train

Sep 24, 2020

His 210 in Madras in 1986 is the stuff of truly epic legend and will survive for as long as cricket is discussed. One tough cricketer. He was opinionated but always respected the opinions of others. Would talk to anyone. Will leave behind a great and lasting legacy.
RIP Dean Jones AM.

Lawn Patrol

Sep 24, 2020

A friend of mine played first grade for Valleys in Brisbane on what is now the Alan Border Fields complex. He was at practice when he saw a skinny kid ask if he could have a net session with the team. He was about 20 or so, but looked younger. The quicks thought they should only go at 3/4 pace to give him a chance. After a few sighters, he started smacking them back over their head with that insouciant follow through or up and over the leg side with the wristy flick. My mate couldn't believe how much power he generated from that skinny frame.

He was very much an essential piece of the Australian team in the 80s. He as much as anyone brought back a sense of belief that no game was lost until the last ball.

Vale Dean Jones.

Sass

Sep 25, 2020

Thanks Titus - off the top you’ve captured beautifully the passing of this wonderful cricketer, and the age in which he dominated.

andrew hodder

Sep 25, 2020

"...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."
Dean Jones played far too hard for the cricket establishment of the 80s. He batted aggressively, fielded likewise, and when captaining teams, would make daring declarations (more often than not, claiming victory). All this posed a threat to the staid commissioners of that era. Outspoken as well, Deano was left out of teams, to our great loss. Cricket and indeed sport everywhere needs more players of his ilk.
Thank you Dean Jones..

Johnny 38

Sep 25, 2020

Dancing down the pitch to curtly and hitting him over mid off, one bounce into the fence. I swear he couldn’t see those delivery’s coming towards him, he did it because he knew we all tuned in Just for that and he never let us down, that’s for sure. Thanks for the memories deano XX

Ted

Oct 04, 2020

It's kind of weird that my most memorable Deano moments are fails:

1) Telling Curtly Ambrose to take his wristband off
2) Getting run out because he started walking back to the pavillion after getting bowled by a no ball (bloody West Indies).
3) Getting run out because he charged the bowler and didn't bother to get back in his crease after hitting it straight back to him.

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