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Dom's Take: Farewell, Deano

By DOMINIC XAVIER
September 25, 2020 15:29 IST
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All of us who were lucky to watch the tied Test of September 1986 will never forget Dean Mervyn Jones.

Playing only his third Test, the Victorian was determined to show his captain Allan Border that he was a tough guy and deserved his place in the Australian team.

Playing in the Madras heat -- temperatures rose to 40 degrees -- Deano was dehydrated, vomitted several times during his innings, but blasted the Indian attack -- Kapil Dev, Chetan Sharma, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh and Shivlal Yadav -- to every part of the ground.

His 210 will be remembered as long as cricket is played -- for its sheer grit, and, of course, its quality.

Deano was a real character -- both on the ground and off it. A couple of days before he died, suddenly at a Mumbai hotel, a clip of him baiting Curtley Ambrose had made the rounds on Twitter on the great West Indian fast bowler's birthday.

Deano had wanted Curtley to take off his white sweat band in an ODI, so that the Aussie could make out what ball the West Indian he intended to bowl.

Ambrose refused at first, but was persuaded to take off his sweat band by his skipper Richie Richardson.

As Deano recalled many years later with a wry grin in the video clip, his request irked Curtley so much that the 6'8" fast bowler bowled even faster and bamboozled the Aussies, Jones included.

But that was Deano.

In the commentary box, he was knowledgable and funny, but could get under the skin of his fellow commentators. He was once dropped from the commentary team for saying something very unkind about that most genial of cricketers -- Hashim Amla -- during a South Africa-Sri Lanka game.

NDTV transformed him into Professor Deano, mortorboard hat, gown and all. Deano liked that avatar so much that professordeano became his twitter handle.

Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar -- who commented on many matches with Deano -- have mourned his passing, applauding his entertaining spirit as well as his deep insights into the game.

Dominic Xavier salutes the original Chennai superhero.

 

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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