Dean Jones (1961-2020): Cricket loses its cheerful voice

Just when one assumed pieces were falling in place for the game of cricket, the demise of Dean Jones at Mumbai on Thursday comes as a latest hammer-blow.

Jones passed away of cardiac arrest. The Australian ODI legend turned commentator was one of the few effervescent characters of the gentlemen’s game and was part of Star Sports commentary team for the IPL.

After a decade of cricket for Australia (1984-1994), Professor Deano, as he was known, embraced television and became a perennial fixture in commentary boxes.

He wasn’t always politically correct and had his own fair share of controversies. Jones was criticised for using a ghastly word to describe South African great Hashim Amla after which he apologised profusely and reintegrated himself in the media bandwagon with his swagger and zest intact.

Jones had been in Mumbai, even hours before his passing on Thursday, the former cricketer and coach had been active on social media, responding to comments and interacting with fans.

And when one individual called his commentary style annoying, pat came the reply urging him to mute the channel. "Glad you are watching... just hit the mute button!" he had cheerfully remarked.

This prompted many other users to assure him that they were not of the same mind, and were fond of his commentary.

"All good.. people are allowed to have their opinions!" he told another user when urged to ignore the trolling comment.

"Prof, not everyone is used to ANZ ways of flamboyant, loud commentary. If you need commentators to say what is going on on TV, I don't think that does the job any justice. Grew up watching Lawry, Greig, Ravi Shastri, etc, and you're doing great. Brings excitement into our homes," one user had tweeted. This drew a thumbs up emoji response from Jones -- indeed, the last post on his Twitter page.

During his prime, Dean Jones was all energy and aggression and exuded an aura in ODI cricket. He was part of the 1987 World Cup winning squad helmed by the indomitable Allan Border.

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