Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones, or Deano as he was fondly know has died of suspected heart attack in a Mumbai hotel. Deano was in India doing the IPL 2020 season – hosting ‘Dugout’ for the Indian TV channel Star Sports. He was also lovingly called Professor Deano.
Deano’s Dugout co-commentators Kiwi Cricketer Scott Styris, and Australian cricketer Brett Lee and others remembered the professor and the player.
“You’ll see the calling chair, for the captain of the Dugout and that’s the great Dean Jones,” Styris mourned his cheeky nemesis through tears and a scrunched up face.
“That’s the red book that he used to get all these stats in… some quick work notes, the jacket he wore last night and we will keep that spot open for him tonight.”
Styris fought his emotions as he spoke of how he had seen Jones that morning, jogging up and down the corridor as he looked to exercise in the “bubble” environment.
Standing next to the empty chair of Dean Jones, Brett Lee paid tribute on live television to the “absolute legend”.
Champion batsman Jones, 59, died of a heart attack in Mumbai, where he was providing coverage of the Indian Premier League for Indian network Star Sports.
After Jones collapsed in their Mumbai hotel, Lee reportedly tried to revive his colleague before he was taken to hospital.
Lee and Scott Styris worked with Jones on the Select Dugout pre-game show and both fronted the cameras just hours after his death saying Deano would have wanted them to keep the show going.
“In many ways the Dugout was Deano,” Styris said.
“Who would have thought this morning, when we got up, had breakfast with Deano, I watched him jog up and down the hallway, that was his way of keeping fit.
“Who would have thought merely a couple of hours later he had this heart attack.
“Incredibly sad … we’ve had a lot of friendly banter …” Styris said before breaking off, grimacing and looking at the ceiling, unable to continue.
Lee then stepped in, saying Jones would have wanted the show to go on.
“What I would say about Deano is that he would have wanted us to be here tonight,” Lee said.
“He was an absolute legend.
“Obviously firstly to his family and friends we send our condolences.
“It’s real tough day for everyone, not only for his close mates and his close mates at home but the whole cricketing world in general.
“What Deano would’ve wanted is for us to come out here in the dugout, get it done, have some fun for the game we all love.”
Jones’s chair on the set of Select Dugout was left empty, with his jacket draped over the back of the chair.
Players from both Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore teams wore black armbands in the match that took place after the show.
On Channel 9, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings hopes Deano could be honoured at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.
“Hopefully we can do something with the Boxing Day Test,” he said
“He owned the ground. It was his stadium when he walked out to bat on Boxing Day.”
India was the place he created history with the bat bge it Mumbai where he breathed his last or Kolkata where he won the World Cup for Australian in 1987 or Chennai (or Madras as it was then known) where in 1986 he made history with his 210 in Australian innings of 574/7 in searing heat of 40 degrees with humidity of 80 per cent and above for days – dehydrating and collapsing and yet batting on.