Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones died of a heart attack on September 24 in Mumbai. (Image: Twitter)
When Sachin Tendulkar last met Dean Jones, both were retired. But they were still on the greens and giving the ball a whack. Just that it was a different sport.
“We were on the golf course in Chembur, Mumbai. This was either at the end of last year or January this year. I was playing with my friends, and he (Jones) was playing with some of his commentator colleagues. We spotted each other from a distance, met, spoke a while, and got on with our games,” Tendulkar told moneycontrol.com on September 25, a day after Jones’ demise.
Jones was 12 years senior to Tendulkar, but the Indian’s early start in international cricket negated the age difference. When Jones scored his famous 210 in the tied Test in Chennai in 1986, Tendulkar was a 13-year-old boy who looked up to the 25-year-old Australian.
In 1991, within just five years, he was competing with him. And as an attacking player, Tendulkar enjoyed observing Jones, among the best one-day players of his generation.
“I remember the tied Test, and talking about how close the finish was. And then I went to Australia literally in five years and was playing against him,” Tendulkar said.
“What I liked about Deano was the way he carried himself, the way he put pressure on the opposition. That is why he was successful in the shorter format as well as Test cricket. Australia were without doubt the No. 1 side in the world. They had some big names. David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Allan Border, the Waugh brothers, Craig McDermott, and Bruce Reid. Even among them Dean Jones was a special player.”
Tendulkar said the reason Jones ran between wickets fast was because he wanted to be on strike, the hallmark of a great batsman.
“If you notice, most great batsmen are also good runners between the wickets, because they want to face the ball again,” he said.
“There are a few exceptions who are not good runners. But almost 80 per cent would be good runners. Some of them were brilliant. Dean Jones came in the category. The way he would place the ball outside the 30-yard circle would invariably put pressure on the fielding side.”
Tendulkar scored a record five Test centuries in sticky, life-draining Chennai. Jones scored his epic double hundred at the same ground.
Tendulkar famously hydrated himself during the 1999 Test against Pakistan, when he scored a valiant 136 in the second innings, by getting up every hour at night and drinking a litre of water. Jones, on the other hand, had no clue about the importance of hydration and ended up vomiting and urinating during his innings.
Tendulkar said it took a few visits to Chennai before he too learnt how to guard himself against the city’s potentially dangerous humidity.
“You learn from your mistakes. In the 1998 Test against Australia, I made 155 not out, and perhaps lost almost 4 kg of fluid,” Tendulkar said.
“That teaches you to prepare yourself better. So for the subsequent matches in Chennai, I had learnt the technique of staying hydrated. Given the way how things have gone from the 80s to today, there is so much research done and scope to prepare yourself better. Given the fact that Dean Jones played without all that, he must have been terribly dehydrated. You start cramping. You can’t sit, you can’t stand, you can’t bend, you can’t do anything.”
All you can do, if you are Jones or Tendulkar, is still, somehow, score runs.