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'Dean Jones's Chennai knock a big lesson for youngsters'

By HARISH KOTIAN
September 25, 2020 18:31 IST
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'He had that attitude that I will never give up no matter what the circumstances.'

Dean Jones

IMAGE: Dean Jones 1961-2020. Photograph: Kind courtesy, ICC/Instagram
 

Chandrakant Pandit says Dean Jones's battling double century in the tied Test in Chennai in 1986 can serve as a big learning experience for today's youngsters.

Jones passed away in Mumbai suddenly on Thursday afternoon.

Pandit could visualise that splendid knock in Chennai, when the Australian, playing just his third Test, defied the extreme hot and humid conditions to tame the Indian spinners on a difficult wicket.

Pandit, who was not part of the playing XI, came in to replace wicket-keeper Kiran More, who was unable to continue after suffering from dehydration and left the field after 50 minutes on the opening day.

Speaking to Harish Kotian/Rediff.com, Pandit says despite vomiting several times and being totally exhausted enroute to his double century, Jones never gave his wicket away easily which is a lesson that to all young players.

"It was a lesson that you should value your wicket and never throw your wicket away no matter how tough things are," Pandit, arguably India's top coach in domestic cricket, recalls.

"I recall a very energetic guy, the way he batted in the Chennai Test. It was very hot and humid and I saw him vomit a few times while scoring that double century. The conditions were very tough and he was struggling with his health, but he was still determined to continue batting."

"The way he was stepping out to rthe spinners was quite impressive," Pandit remembers. "I admired him that he took the attack to the bowlers, especially against spinners because he used his feet very well, which is a rare thing with foreign batsmen against spin bowlers."

"The pitch was turning and there was low bounce so he did extremely well to handle the Indian spinners," Pandit adds.

"To survive against three Indian spinners (Ravi Shastri, Shivlal Yadav, Maninder Singh) was not easy, but he batted positively and that was the hallmark of his innings."

"Mentally, he was very tough, he showed a lot of character batting in those extreme conditions despite struggling so much. He had that attitude that I will never give up no matter what the circumstances."

"The Australians are always aggressive, but to stay at the wicket and play such a long innings in those conditions especially when you are so new to Test cricket, it was something else."

"He never went on the defensive. He didn't slow down when it came to running between the wickets," Pansdit recalls, "he kept running hard throughout the wicket despite being drained totally."

"It was very hot and humid that day, you would drain out if you batted or bowled for a certain period of time. No matter how much water you would intake but still you would get exhausted."

"You had to change your clothes around 3-4 times a day because you sweated so much."

"We had to field for nearly two days because Dean Jones batted so long and kept us out in the field while scoring his two hundred."

"That knock by Dean Jones can be a big role model for youngsters that no matter how tough the conditions are, you should never give up and look to make it big."

"Anyone else in his place would have just thrown the towel after getting to their century, but not Dean Jones, he just kept batting."

"That is a big lesson I learnt from him in that game, that you should have the hunger and never get satisfied and keep fighting till the end."

"It was a lesson that you should value your wicket and never throw your wicket away no matter how tough things are."

"After I saw your message I was shocked really, he was just 59, that is not the age to go away."

"He was a very energetic, you could see that energy when he came out to bat or on the field when he clapped and cheered his team mates, I can visualise that right now."

"When I am talking about him, I can visualise Dean Jones playing in that Australia series, it is a big shock for me."

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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