Sachin Tendulkar has stated that it was truly a special experience playing against Dean Jones as he grew up watching him as a kid. The Master Blaster has also added that Jones would have been one of the most sought-after players in the T20 cricket world as he was an innovative stroke-player.
The sad and unfortunate demise of Dean Jones due to cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hotel on Thursday while being a part of host broadcaster's commentary panel for the 2020 IPL has left everyone shocked. The former Australia batsman, who played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs averaged 46.55and 44.62 respectively with 18 international tons to his name. He is believed to have redefined the way ODI cricket was played in terms of approaching batting with his innovative strokeplay and brilliant running between the wickets.
Tendulkar paid tribute to the Aussie great and stated that Deano would have been the most sought after player in the shortest format of the game given his innovative stroke play, exceptional running between the wickets, and brilliant fielding. He termed his death as a massive tragedy as per Sachin, Jones still had a lot to give back to the game.
"He would have been hundred percent one of the most popular T20 players without any doubt. Had there been an auction, Deano would have been a player much in-demand. He was an innovative stroke player, a fantastic runner between the wickets and a brilliant fielder, everything that you require for T20s.
"It's a better pill to swallow. Whatever you say, it is a massive tragedy. My heart goes out to his friends and family. Just think of it, he was only 59 years old. He may have had so much to contribute. I pray for his departed soul," Tendulkar told PTI.
The only man with 100 international centuries, Sachin recalled his memories of watching Jones bat on a number of occasions and also asserted that it was truly special to play against Deano as he had watched him growing up and also applauded the tough Aussies of the 1990s.
"While I was growing up, I had seen Dean Jones bat on a number of occasions, but when I went to Australia in 1991, getting a chance to play against someone whom you kind of grew up watching, I remember there were a number of players in their team like Allan Border, David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Bruce Reid, (Craig) McDermott. As a 13-year-old, 14-year-old kid, I had watched all these bowlers, I had watched all of them, and then I was playing against them, the likes of Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, so Dean Jones was without any doubt one of those guys I grew up watching, then to actually be playing against him was truly special.
"Australian team, I have gone on record saying that they have always been one of the toughest sides and possibly in the 90s if I have to say then the Australian team was the toughest side in cricket and he (Jones) was part of it," Tendulkar told TimesofIndia.com.
One of the greatest batsmen to have played the game, Tendulkar reckons Deano was a truly fearless cricketer, and his body language communicated a lot about his character to the opposition.
"It always appeared to me that Dean Jones was fearless, he was out there to express himself, he played some incredible knocks in his career and not just in ODI cricket but also in Test cricket, in whichever format he played. In those days there were only Test cricket and ODIs, but he was extremely aggressive and fearless and his body language conveyed a lot of things to the opposition. I admired him for that."