Dean Jones played 52 Tests for Australia scoring 3631 runs at an average of 46.55 including 11 hundreds. But it was his record in ODI cricket – 6068 runs in 161 innings at an average of 44.61 with 7 hundreds and as many as 46 fifties – which was outstanding! Not only for his generation but in the history of ODI cricket.
Yes, he was that good!
Though Jones might have moved down a few ranks with the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers breaking record after record in the format, it is still an incredible feat and statistic!
The question then is that why was Jones such a high impact batsman in ODI cricket?
The answer is simple – because he raised his game on the biggest stage in the matches that mattered the most – matches that defined the outcome of a series/tournament.
This big-match temperament gave Jones a very high impact in ODI cricket – higher than some of the other big names during his generation and batsmen before and after.
Jones gave 6 Series-Defining (SD) Performances during his ODI career. Although the turning point for him came in the Benson and Hedges Challenge, 1986-87 where he scored two successive hundreds at Perth on two consecutive days, it was not until 1990 till he gave his first SD.
Vs Pakistan: Feb 23, 1990, 1st Final, MCG, Benson & Hedges World Series
Australia were in early trouble at 9 for 1 when Jones walked in to face the trio of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis at their lethal best. Mark Taylor’s dismissal made it 23 for 2. Jones resurrected the innings with Steve Waugh and later combined with skipper, Allan Border and put together a match-winning 109 run-stand remaining unbeaten on 83. It was a quintessential Dean Jones knock – just three 4s and one six – the rest all 1s and 2s and 3s – Jones had mastered the art of placing the ball in the wide and vast outfields of the big grounds in Australia and was an excellent judge and runner between the wickets.
Vs New Zealand: March 11, 1990, Final, Auckland, Rothmans Cup
Coming out at 13 for 1, (chasing 163) Jones hammers an unbeaten 102 off just 91 deliveries to take Australia to victory by 8 wickets with 65 balls remaining.
Vs India: Jan 18, 1992, 1st Final, MCG, Benson & Hedges World Series
Jones is the playmaker in the middle-order scoring 73 off 96 deliveries helping Australia to 233 for 5 which ultimately proves too much for India who go down by 88 runs.
While most of Jones’ SDs came on the large grounds of Australia in the Benson and Hedges World Series, he achieved the feat against almost all the top teams of the world. He gave high impact performances in the Caribbean against the likes of Ambrose, Walsh and Marshall in 1991 while his 79 helped Australia to a 69-run win against South Africa (comprising of Allan Donald and Fanie de Villiers) in the 2nd Final of the 1994 Benson and Hedges World Series at the SCG.
Jones played a significant part with the bat in Australia’s historic World Cup win in the sub-continent in 1987. He scored 314 runs in 8 innings at an average of 44.85 including 3 fifties. He was very consistent and failed just once in 8 matches in the tournament.
From the 1987 World Cup till the end of the Benson and Hedges World Series in Australia in January, 1994, Jones was the most impactful batsman in the world also with the highest average of 47.79 (min. runs 1000). His aggregate of 4493 runs in 110 innings in this period was also the highest.
All his 6 SDs came during this time-frame.
Jones had redefined the art of ODI cricket during his career. He was an accumulator who relied on placement and running between the wickets converting the 1s into 2s and 2s into 3s and 3s into 4s on the massive grounds Down Under. And when the need be he had the big shots to up the ante.
His place as an ODI legend will remain intact – now and forever!