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Dan Andrews takes a dig after Dean Jones’ shock death

Dean Jones is being remembered as a cricket legend after his shocking death overnight but it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the man never afraid of a scrap.The Aussie icon was in India to commentate the IPL but died aged 59 when he was unable to be revived after suffering a heart attack and collapsing…

Dean Jones is being remembered as a cricket legend after his shocking death overnight but it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the man never afraid of a scrap.

The Aussie icon was in India to commentate the IPL but died aged 59 when he was unable to be revived after suffering a heart attack and collapsing in his Mumbai hotel.

Jones was a gamechanger in one-day cricket, revolutionising the way the format was played with his aggressive batting and electric running between the wickets.

The much-loved Victorian brought an intensity and innovation to the 50-over game that is still evident in the sport today. But despite his heroics in the canary yellow, many feel Jones’ Test career ended far too soon.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews certainly thinks so. He couldn’t help but have a dig at selectors while paying tribute to Jones on Twitter.

“Dean Jones was the epitome of grit, determination and sheer fight,” Andrews wrote on Twitter. “He rewrote the rule book for the one-day game — and should have been picked for many more than his 52 Tests.

“A legend of sport. A legend of this state. And we love him ‘cause he’s Victorian.”

Victorians have long felt their own are often harshly treated by national selectors, while cracking jokes about NSW players being handed a baggy green in a paper bag the same time they receive their baggy blue.

Brad Hodge is one of the most infamous examples of Victorians being ruthlessly discarded, was dropped two Tests after scoring an undefeated 203 against South Africa in 2005.

As Andrews mentioned, Jones played 52 Tests between 1984-1992, scoring 3631 runs at an average of 46.55 with 11 centuries.

To put that in perspective, Jones had more runs after 52 Tests than Ricky Ponting — regarded as Australia’s best batsman since Donald Bradman — did at the same stage of his career.

With such an imposing record, Jones should have made more appearances in the baggy green, but his career in the whites was controversially cut short — his fans adamant he was shafted well before his time.

Jones was axed ahead of the 1992/93 home series against the West Indies despite being in scary form. In his previous four Tests he had scored two unbeaten centuries, 150 against India in Perth and an even 100 against Sri Lanka in Colombo, and totalled 433 runs at an average of 72.16.

That’s why there was uproar among Aussie cricket lovers when he was dumped in favour of West Australian young gun Damien Martyn.

Making matters even more complicated, Mark Waugh had endured a shocking run of low scores, recording four consecutive ducks in the preceding Sri Lanka series. But he was retained against the Windies and Jones was shown the door, never to play another Test.

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Jones had a couple of more years in the one-day set-up before his ODI career also ended in controversy during the 1994 tour of South Africa. Dropped for the final match of the series with Australia needing to win the square the ledger, Jones was angry David Boon and Mark Taylor remained in the side ahead of him.

Jones decided he’d had enough of the selectors’ treatment and retired, which he recently explained to Shane Watson on the Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast.

“I said, ‘Are you trying to tell me that you’re a better player than me, in one-day cricket? Really? Well, that’s it, I’m done’,” Jones said. “And I retired straightaway.

“That was it. They (the selectors) said, ‘No, you’ve got to go to Sharjah to play all these one-day series’. I’m going no, I went on, (and) that was it. No thank you, no nothing. That was it.”

Thousands turned up to the MCG in late 1994 to watch a testimonial match held in Jones’ honour, and the Victorian kept playing first class cricket until eventually calling time on his state career in 1998.

DEANO’S BITTER SPLIT WITH VICTORIA

His bust-ups with selectors weren’t the only times Jones found himself in the ring with the cricket establishment. He was vocal against the threat of match fixing, urging officials to get tough on corruption in the game and he recently launched a scathing attack on Cricket Victoria after being ignored for a couple of coaching positions.

He applied for roles at Melbourne-based Big Bash League (BBL) franchises the Stars and Renegades in 2019, but was overlooked for younger, less experienced candidates in David Hussey and Michael Klinger.

Jones revealed that was the catalyst for him wanting his life membership of Cricket Victoria rescinded, and his name removed from the award given to the state’s best one-day player each season.

“They have given jobs for the boys, and I think it is an insult not just to me, but to overseas coaches,” Jones said in April this year of his BBL snub.

Jones also slammed Cricket Victoria’s vision for the future as his sad spat with his home state reached breaking point.

“Where it has come from is the lack of culture and vision and strategy by the CV administration (which) has just hurt me,” Jones told Sportsday.

“I played 20 years for my state and was proud to have done it. Their five-step plan from 2017 to 2022 is just so far wrong as to where they are going.

“They wanted to make permanent Australian players. Well, we haven’t got one decent player in the Australian team except for Aaron Finch, who is the captain.

“The way the administration has looked after things is poor … the 18 premier clubs are supposed to produce all these permanent Australian players. It is so weak. It is just awful the way it has been played.

“I’ve got no idea of their direction.”

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