“Professor Deano” will always be remembered in the Cricket World as a humor-loving commentator, a successful coach and a legendary batsman.
Dean Jones is a famous Australian ODI and Test batsman who debuted in 1984 against West Indies. Jones was featured in Australian Cricket Hall of Fame for his 10-year long batting career, often described as one of the best for Australia.
Jones also had a successful first-class career scoring 55 centuries with 324 runs not out as the highest score.
In 1986, he scored his memorable innings of 210 runs against India in series’ third Test while he was suffering from dehydration due to humid weather conditions in Chennai. Later he went through an Intravenous therapy.
In 1987 World Cup, Jones was one of the top batsmen from the winning side. For the next six to seven years of his career he remained a star batsman for Australia becoming a part of Wisden’s Cricketers of the year in 1990 until his retirement in 1994 during an ODI series with South Africa. He announced retirement after he was dropped from the team in the last ODI of the eight-match series.
Apart from Cricket, Jones also took part in fundraising for cancer patients. To honour his services he was made a member of the Order of Australia (a reward for civilian) in 2006.
After his retirement, Jones started commentating and coaching while continuing his contributions to the game of Cricket.
As a successful commentator Jones was famous for his cheerful and witty approach.
According to Wikipedia: “Jones received the nickname “Professor Deano” after giving a pitch report for a television show by dressing up as a professor prior to the group stage match of the 2004 Asia Cup between India and Sri Lanka.”
In 2006, he landed himself in a controversy when from the commentary box he labelled a South African player from Muslim background, Hashim Amla, as “terrorist”. During a live broadcast, Jones was heard to say “the terrorist gets another wicket” when Amla took a catch.
After his comment, his contract with 10 Sports was terminated however, he apologised for his actions later.
In 2017, Jones was in Afghanistan for Shpageeza Cricket League as a commentator when he nearly escaped a terrorist attack at Kabul International Cricket Ground. Three people were killed in the attack carried out by Islamic State while several others injured.
“Coming that close to something you’ve only heard about on the news was an enlightening experience as much as it was frightening,” Jones wrote in his article ‘My brush with Islamic State’ published in Athletes Voice.
He further said: “My response in the hours afterwards was to work out how I could get out of the country as quickly as possible and return to the tranquility of Melbourne. Several of the overseas players in the league fled. But I soon realised that leaving was not the answer.
Firstly, I’d always believed it hypocritical of cricketers to refuse to travel to Pakistan or Afghanistan because of the threat of terrorism but would happily go to London, which has also been affected by terrorism. Apart from that, from a cricketing point of view, these people were now our brothers and I felt we owed it to them to show our support.
I wanted to do my small part to show them that I admired their determination to embrace our game, in the face of all the threats and dangers, and recognise that they had found some of the enjoyment through cricket that we had always taken for granted.”
As a part of PSL
With Jones being a head coach, a Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Islamabad United won the two PSL seasons: one in 2016 and another in 2018.
In 2019, he became head coach of Karachi Kings for PSL 2020. Under Jones’ coaching, the team had successfully qualified for play-off stages but the tournament was then postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the Karachi Kings won their first title later in November 2020 when the game was resumed but unfortunately Jones was not there to receive the trophy.
Over a month ago on September 24, 2020, the 59-year-old cricketing legend Jones took his last breath in Mumbai when he was there as a part of the 2020 Indian Premier League commentary team.
During the PSL 2020, Jones won the hearts of everyone when he was seen cleaning litter and plastic bottles after a match at National Stadium Karachi.
On International Cricket in Pakistan, which had been restricted since 2009, Jones voiced his opinion saying: “Sometimes players have difficult decisions to make, being asked to weigh their loyalty to their country against concerns over their personal safety.
For example, would you tour Pakistan? In the aftermath of the Christchurch tragedy, would any Muslim player be comfortable touring New Zealand? Every cricketing country in the world has had recent terrorist attacks of some sort.”
“In 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by 12 terrorists, where six Pakistani police and two civilians were shot and killed. One umpire was shot twice and fortunately survived. Several Sri Lankan team members were injured.
But time does heal all wounds. Everywhere in the world, players just have to accept there will be a heavy security team with them wherever they travel. Sadly, touring is nowhere near as much fun as it used to be,” he added.
Now carrying his memories, the sixth edition of PSL will commence from February 20 – expected to be full of entertainment and colorful cricketing moments but without our “Professor Deano”.