Dean Mervyn Jones, DM Jones as it appeared in the scorecards for Australia in the mid-eighties to early nineties for both Tests and one-day internationals (ODI), passed away suddenly in Mumbai of a massive cardiac arrest on September 24, 2020. He was in the city for being a part of the broadcast team operating from Mumbai for the ongoing new normal Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL13). As per reports Dean took part in a discussion, and was then chatting with others in the hotel lobby when he suddenly collapsed, falling to the ground. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. He was just 59 and was in very sound health. Well, in this gloomy COVID-19 times death no longer needs an excuse to strike. The death of Dean Jones is a great tragedy to befall world cricket, and a terrible shocker for all cricketers, commentators and lovers of the game.
We remember Dean Jones as the awe-inspiring No.3 Australian batsman when Australia had been a formidable opponent beating all teams of international cricket including India with ease, under the respective captaincy of Allan Border and Steve Smith. Dean was inducted in the Australian team in 1984 during its West Indies tour, and played 52 tests till 1992 when he was dropped under controversial circumstances. In his Test career DM Jones scored 3631 runs with 11 centuries and 14 half-centuries, his batting average at a terrific 46.55. He was equally successful in the ODI format scoring 6068 runs, 7 centuries, 46 half-centuries yielding a very healthy average of 44.61. He was one of the top batsmen of the world during his tenure as per the relevant ICC rankings. He was named the Cricketer of the Year in 1990 in acknowledgment of his towering performance in the successful Ashes Tour of 1989. He had also been a part of the victorious Australian side in the 1987 ICC Cricket World Cup held in India.
Among millions of cricket lovers across the world we also remember him specially for his performance in the historic third Test against India in Chennai (Madras then) in September 1986: under extremely humid conditions, Dean Mervyn Jones, suffering bouts of dehydration on the field, scored a definitive 210 runs in the Australian first innings of a massive 574 for 7 declared. That Test match went on to become only the third ever Tied Test in world cricket with India, set 348 runs to win on the fifth and final day, and the hosts getting all out for 347, scores level. Dean Jones played his last ODI against South Africa in 1994.
After his rather controversial exits from both the Test and ODI formats Dean Jones continued to remain in limelight as a commentator in live cricket matches and tournaments, and as a live-wire anchor in various television sports series. His special love for India brought him here very often, participating in various new cricket talent-hunt and humanitarian projects, and it is indeed tragic that he should breathe his last in the cricketing city of Mumbai. Dean Jones had always been spirited, dramatic, humorous and outspoken in his roles as commentators and anchors. His speaking-the-mind utterances often landed him in trouble, both during his playing and commentator tenures, leading to sackings from the team or breach of contracts.
A cricket legend goes for the heavenly abode; sad, shocking and untimely demise of a lively former cricketer, commentator, television anchor and cricket coach. He will always be remembered as the outstanding No.3 Australian batsman who came in after the fall of one of the legendary openers, Marsh and Boon, invariably and regaled his home fans and all other cricket lovers across the globe with aggressive attacking shots: fours and sixes in abundance. We mourn the death a cricket legend deeply.
At a personal level, I would like to mention another tragic loss of an outstanding physician, Dr. Ashwini Kumar Sarma, in a town in Assam on 18th September 2020; not because he was my brother-in-law, but because of the striking similarities between the two tragedies. The doctor also succumbed to a sudden, massive and inexplicable cardiac arrest during his afternoon nap and it was all over in just five minutes. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and was declared dead on arrival, before anybody could even guess what happened. He was also 59, and in reasonably good health. Humans cannot understand the bizarre ways of Death, ever.
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