Former Australia batsman Dean Jones has died of a cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hotel on Thursday (24th September).
The 59-year-old was in Mumbai with the Indian Premier League host broadcaster’s commentary team.
Jones was a part of Australia's World Cup winning team in 1987 and played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs for his national team.
"It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Dean Mervyn Jones AM. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest," Star Sports said in a press release.
"We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time. We are in touch with the Australian High Commission to make the necessary arrangements," the release added.
In his 10-year career (1984-1994), Jones scored 3631 runs in the Test format at an average of 46.55 hitting 11 centuries and 14 half-centuries.
In the limited-over format, he scored 6068 runs at an average of 44.61 hitting 7 centuries and 46 fifties.
"Jones was one of the great ambassadors of the game associating himself with Cricket development across South Asia. He was passionate about discovering new talent and nurturing young cricketers."
"He was a champion commentator whose presence and presentation of the game always brought joy to millions of fans. He will be sorely missed by everyone at Star and his millions of fans across the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends," the broadcasters said.
An unforgettable 210-run knock in Chennai
In 1986, Jones made a career-defining 210 in a Test against India. The match is still remembered not only for the highest score by an Australian in a Test in India but for how he fought hard in the scorching heat of Chennai during cricket's second-ever tied Test.
Batting through extreme exhaustion in energy-draining conditions, Jones felt shaky and vomited, but refused to give in. After the conclusion of the innings, he had to be rushed to the hospital and put on a drip.
During an interview with Cricinfo in early 2000, the player shared his experience of the game saying he couldn’t run due to dehydration. As he completed 170 runs, he began losing control of his bodily functions. “I knew I was in trouble when I started urinating in my pants and I couldn’t stop it,” Jones was quoted as saying by The Roar.
Cricketing world in shock
The sudden death left the cricketing world in shock as tributes poured in for the affable cricketer-turned-commentator.
"Absolutely heartbreaking news about Dean Jones passing away.
A wonderful soul taken away too soon. Had the opportunity to play against him during my first tour of Australia. May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to his loved ones," tweeted Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.
India captain Virat Kohli wrote: "Shocked to hear about the tragic loss of Dean Jones. Praying for strength and courage to his family and friends."
India head coach Ravi Shastri and former opener Virender Sehwag also condoled his demise.
Sunil Gavaskar, who played against him and commentated alongside the Australian for many years, called Jones a dynamic personality.
"He was one of the most dynamic of cricketers, also as you said with the mic, he set new standards and that's what he did with the bat as well," Gavaskar told Star Sports.
Gavaskar also recalled Jones as an outstanding fielder and the one who pioneered aggressive running between the wickets.
"His aggressive running between the wickets, every time the ball went into that 30-yard circle and the fielder was in the deep, with Dean Jones, you knew the second run was going to be taken.
"And also the way he used to go away from stumps and hit the ball over extra cover, all those were shots which were new in the 1980s, he was you would say pioneer of lot of those shots, pioneer of aggressive running between the wickets, and he was an outstanding fielder as well," added Gavaskar.
Current and former Australia players too were left speechless after coming to know about the tragic news.
"I can't believe this news. So very sad to hear about this. Rip Deano, you will be missed," David Warner, who is leading Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, tweeted.
Australian limited overs skipper Aaron Finch, who is with the RCB this IPL, said: "Still in shock hearing the news of Deanos passing. Thoughts are with Jane and the family at this incredibly tough time. A great man with an amazing passion for the game."
World Cup-winning captain Michael Clarke wrote: "Speechless. Devastated. RIP great man."
The official handle of the Indian Premier League posted: "We are extremely shocked and sad to learn of the untimely demise of Mr. Dean Jones. His energy and enthusiasm for the game will be truly missed. Our thoughts with his family, friends and his followers in this hour of grief."
In a statement, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings expressed his grief and lauded Jones' cricketing and broadcast career.
"Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game," Eddings said.
"Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played.
"Although many remember him for his brilliance in the 50-over game, arguably Jones' finest moment in the national team came in scorching conditions in Chennai in 1986, where his selfless and courageous innings of 210 helped Australia to a famous tie against India.
"Jones remained an immensely popular figure in Australian and Victorian cricket throughout his life and was a much-loved columnist and commentator in every corner of the cricketing world.
"This is a truly sad day. Deano's loss will be felt not just at home in Australia, but across the globe. Our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife Jane and daughters Isabella and Phoebe," said Eddings.
There was never a dull moment when Jones was around, whether it was on the cricketing field or in the commentary box.
"Very sad to hear of the passing of Dean Jones. He was always a fantastic bloke to have a yarn with around a cricket field. I remember in Canada one of his stories was so funny I actually forgot to warm up to bowl pre-game. RIP," wrote New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham, who is also playing in the IPL.
Jones also worked as a coach in the Pakistan Super League.
"Shocked to hear the news regarding the passing of Dean Jones. He really loved Pakistan cricket and was an amazing man. Thoughts with his family at this difficult time.
"Jones was one of the great ambassadors of the game associating himself with Cricket development across South Asia. He was passionate about discovering new talent and nurturing young cricketers," said Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz.