Few sportspersons will be remembered for revolutionising the game long after they are gone.
Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones, who died of cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Thursday, belongs to that rare breed. The top-order batsman played a huge role in Australia becoming a dominant force under Allan Border in the mid-1980s.
Jones had the swagger about him and changed the dynamics of one-day cricket with his aggressive batting, brilliant running between the wickets and electric fielding. He was the quintessential one-day player. Very few judged a run better than Jones.
Jones was a trusted lieutenant of Border. He perfectly fitted into Border and coach Bob Simpson's scheme of things. He gave his all on the field. His presence was vital for an Australian side going through a transitional phase. Jones' confidence and enthusiasm rubbed on to the rest of his teammates. He played the game tough which was so typical of Australia.
Jones featured in 52 Tests and 164 ODIs in an international career spanning 10 years. More than 6,000 runs at an average of 44.6 make him one of the one-day greats.
Epic in Chennai
Jones had a long association with India. His greatest moment as a Test batsman was the epic 210 in the tied Test against India at Chennai in 1986. Jones battled severe dehydration to carve out a niche for himself in one of the greatest Tests ever.
He was also part of the Australian team that won the ODI World Cup for the first time under Border the very next year in the sub- continent.
Popular TV commentator
Jones played his last international game in 1994. Lack of runs and the emergence of new batting stars such as Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn cut short his international career. After his retirement in 1998, the Victorian turned to coaching and also made a name for himself as an expert on TV. Jones was hugely popular with the Indian TV audience and his death at the age of 59 while being part of the commentary team covering the ongoing IPL has been a shocker. RIP, Deano.