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Langer’s tribute to Jones as Cricket Australia plans commemoration

“COVID-19 restrictions do have a direct impact on the number of people who can attend a funeral service, but there may be a time, subject to the wishes of his family, where we as Victorians can celebrate a life well lived and a life that we are all diminished by the loss of,” Mr Andrews said.

“His passing is something that is a cause of great sadness.”

Dean Jones in action for Australia in a one-day international.

Dean Jones in action for Australia in a one-day international.Credit:Getty Images

Jones’ wife Jane has been contacted by the Australian High Commission in India about plans to bring her husband’s body back to Australia.

CA was working through potential immediate and long-term tributes on Friday, with Eddings declaring Jones’ memory would be honoured this summer.

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“We certainly will. We will work through the family and Victoria and Australian cricket and work out the most appropriate way to recognise and celebrate his life because he had such an impact,” he said.

“We will work through that over the next few days. The most important thing now is to worry about his family.”

The Melbourne Cricket Club is also set to link up with CA on the matter of a public tribute, with some expectation that it will be done at the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, if it is held there.

Jones, who is survived by his wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe and has a son from another relationship, played 52 Tests and scored 3631 runs, including 11 centuries. In the one-day arena, he thumped 6063 runs, including seven centuries and 46 half-centuries, in 164 matches.

There is also the possibility of having a tribute at the Albert Cricket Ground, the home ground of the MCC’s Premier team.

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The passionate Victorian great will be remembered as a key player during Australia’s rebuild of the late 1980s, and a man who revolutionised the one-day format through his fitness, hard running and dashing strokeplay. He was also suave, and brought a new-age coolness to the sport through wearing colourful sunglasses and even zinc cream.

Langer, a batsman who had been competing for Jones’ spot in the Test XI in 1992-93 at the end of Jones’ career, said Jones had taken cricket to a new level.

“One thing about Dean Jones is, there is not that many players who really revolutionised the game. You think about maybe Warnie [Shane Warne], you think about Adam Gilchrist, and Dean Jones in one-day cricket, his running between the wickets, his athleticism, the way he took on the game. They are my memories of Deano,” he said on Friday.

“Of course, his 200 in Madras. It is almost part of legend in Australian Test cricket, in the brotherhood of the baggy green, is his 200 in Madras, and the way he batted with AB [Allan Border]. It’s the stuff of legend.”

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Jones was controversially demoted to 12th man for the opening Test against the West Indies in 1992-93, his spot taken by Damien Martyn. He would not add to his Test tally.

It was in that same summer where he infamously had Curtly Ambrose remove his white sweat bands from around his wrist, prompting a fierce spell from the fast-bowling great which is said to have sparked the touring side for the rest of the summer.

Jones loved Victorian cricket but had an awkward relationship with administrators and former teammates. He fell out with some, and made up with others – but there was no doubting where his heart lay. He was inaugurated into the Cricket Australia Hall of Fame last year but refused to participate in a video tribute.

Langer revealed he had hoped to use Jones this summer in a mentor role with the Twenty20 side, a position Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting had filled last year in England.

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Jones had made a name for himself in recent years as a successful Twenty20 coach, particularly in Pakistan.

“I was talking about getting Deano in to help us with our T20 World Cup stuff as one of those mentor coaches. Sadly, that is not going to happen,” Langer said.

Langer fondly recalled an innings Jones crafted against Western Australia and the advice he gave that night to a young Langer and Martyn. Jones had been dropped early in his knock but went on to make a double century.

“It was a philosophy I have always taken with me since then, is that you never, ever, give a great player a chance,” he said.

“I also remember him that night, he was sitting in the change room with Marto and myself, he is going: ‘Boys, if you ever get a chance to get to a hundred, I don’t care if you are in the 90s for two hours, in life you don’t get too many chances to go get a hundred so when you do, make sure you get a hundred’.”

Langer also cherished a recent Facetime chat he had had during the COVID-19 lockdown with several members of the 1989 Ashes touring party, including Jones. Langer had been having lunch with former WA and Australian teammates Tom Moody, Adam Gilchrist and Geoff Marsh.

“One of the great afternoons of our life … after speaking to Jonesy for five or 10 minutes, that’s when I thought how great it would be for him to have one of those mentor roles,” he said.

“The text message after it was: ‘Boys, thank you so much for thinking about me. I am so jealous, I wish I was there with you now.’ That sums Jonesy up in the last few years particularly.”

“His role in the team’s World Cup win in 1987 and the 1989 Ashes under [Allan Border] were a huge turning point for Australian cricket.

“His double century in Madras was one of the greatest and most courageous innings of all time.

“We can only hope to make Australians as proud of our team as they were of Deano, he will be missed by the game and millions of people around the world. Our love to Jane and the girls.”

Read Dean Jones’ columns for the Age and Herald.

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