Jones, who in his time was considered one of the world’s best batsmen in limited overs cricket, was on assignment as an IPL commentator. In a poignant tribute, fellow commentators left the studio chair vacant with his coat hanging on his chair during the evening game. The words, ‘Thank You Deano’, showed on a screen. The cricketer, who often undertook charity walks and runs, seemed to be alright in the morning when he came to the hotel’s breakfast area and later joined his colleagues and crew around 11am for the daily briefing session ahead of the game.
The love affair with India began in 1986
Deano looked absolutely fine. He was his usual self-talking cricket, smiling, having fun-and then suddenly, the very next moment, he collapsed right there in the corridor,” according to a person who was present at the time.
Several people, including fellow Australian Brett Lee, rushed to help him. Jones was immediately rushed into an ambulance by the hotel medical staff and others. He was also administered CPR on the way to HN Hospital in south Mumbai.
The former international, however, was declared dead upon arrival. The hospital took Jones’s body in for post-mortem. The formalities were completed over the next hour or two before the Australian high commission took over.
Jones, who was born in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg, played 52 Tests and 164 One-day Internationals and was also regarded as one of the finest fielders of his era. His love affair with India first began in 1986 when the Australians arrived for a three-Test series. With his monumental 210, he graduated to cricketing manhood.
‘Jones enjoyed watching & talking cricket’
Also known as ‘Professor Deano’- his Twitter handle too – for a television show he was once part of, Jones reflected an amiable joie de vivre. Fellow commentators, many who played the game alongside him, said he enjoyed watching and talking cricket endlessly.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said, “Jones won admirers the world over with his dashing shot-making and superb fielding. Jones went on to become a highly-regarded coach and commentator and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to cricket and charity and was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019.”
He is survived by his wife Jane and two daughters-Phoebe and Augusta back in Melbourne. TOI understands Jones’s body will be flown back home at the earliest. Jones was part of broadcaster Star India’s studio set-up here along with fellow ex-cricketers Lee, Brian Lara, Scott Styris and Graeme Swann, among others.
These experts were part of an extensive bio-secure bubble in the city and had been flown in much in advance of the tournament to undergo the necessary quarantine formalities before beginning work on the IPL.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly tweeted, “Just can’t believe what I heard … Dean Jones RIP… my condolences to the family”.
Just can’t believe what I heard … Dean jones RIP .. my condolences to the family …@ProfDeano
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) 1600959839000