Jones and Hadlee: Best of ri­vals

The Timaru Herald - - Sport - Sir Richard Hadlee on Dean Jones Mark Geenty mark.geenty@stuff.co.nz

‘‘He had a pres­ence.’’

Sir Richard Hadlee and Dean Jones spent last Christ­mas Day to­gether north of Mel­bourne, the ban­ter flow­ing, each still re­fer­ring to the other as their crick­et­ing ‘bunny’.

The great trans-Tas­man ri­vals kept in con­tact; Jones check­ing in reg­u­larly on Hadlee in re­cent years as he un­der­went surgery and treat­ment for can­cer.

So when Hadlee awoke in Christchur­ch yes­ter­day for his reg­u­lar round of golf, and was greeted by news of Jones’ sud­den death in In­dia, aged 59, he was floored.

‘‘To­tally shocked and sad­dened about the whole thing. I didn’t know un­til about 7am this morn­ing when my wife told me. Un­be­liev­able, 59 and gone, just like that, is so tragic,’’ Hadlee told Stuff yes­ter­day.

Jones suf­fered a heart at­tack in Mum­bai on Thurs­day where he was part of a Star Sports stu­dio panel for the In­dian Premier League. He is sur­vived by wife Jane and daugh­ters Is­abella and Phoebe.

New Zealand’s great­est crick­eter and the brash Aus­tralian bats­man first tan­gled in the late 1980s and, af­ter Hadlee’s re­tire­ment in 1990 they formed a friend­ship, do­ing speak­ing en­gage­ments and help­ing pro­mote the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

In the 1987 test se­ries in Aus­tralia, Hadlee dis­missed Jones for 2, 0 and 4 in the first in­nings at Bris­bane, Ade­laide and Mel­bourne.

But Jones got ver­bal am­mu­ni­tion for fu­ture years when he snared Hadlee caught and bowled with his gen­tle off­spin­ners, his only wicket in a 52-test ca­reer in which he scored 3631 runs at an av­er­age of 46, and 11 cen­turies.

‘‘He took great de­light in telling the world about that, be­cause I got him out six times,’’ Hadlee said.

‘‘I dom­i­nated him in that test se­ries but in one-day cricket I hardly ever got him out. There was mu­tual re­spect be­tween us. Yes we were at each other when we played but off the field, a great friend­ship.’’

Hadlee and wife Di had Christ­mas lunch at Jones’ prop­erty at Rom­sey on the eve of the Black Caps’ ap­pear­ance in the Box­ing Day test at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground.

A proud Vic­to­rian, Jones im­pressed Hadlee by show­ing off his lawn made up of the hal­lowed turf of the MCG. ‘‘His beloved MCG was part of his back­yard. That sums Deano up, a bit quirky, and he took great de­light

in keep­ing it in the right con­di­tion.’’

His Christ­mas gift to Jones summed up their friend­ship, Hadlee said: a cush­ion cover with a gi­ant rab­bit and a mes­sage: ‘To Deano, one of the great Aus­tralian bats­men. Howzat, Pad­dles 431 [test wick­ets].’

Jones re­galed the MCG press box the next day in mock an­guish, say­ing: ‘‘Then I had to hear about all the times he got me out.’’

But in Aus­tralian gold in 50-over cricket, Jones was near un­stop­pable.

In nine one-day in­ter­na­tion­als against New Zealand teams in­clud­ing Hadlee, Jones scored 603 runs at an av­er­age of 100.5. Hadlee dis­missed him just three times in ODIs. New Zealand cricket watch­ers will re­call it vividly: Jones swag­ger­ing to the cen­tre, chew­ing his gum, swathed in zinc cream, and caus­ing the bowlers end­less headaches as he scam­pered be­tween wick­ets and charged to­wards them. ‘‘He had a pres­ence. He was al­ways look­ing to get on top of the bowler quickly,’’ Hadlee said. ‘‘He also had a power game and he liked to move out of his crease and come to­wards you all the time. As a bowler you think ‘I’m go­ing to bounce you’ but that’s what he wanted be­cause he was a very good hooker of the ball. It was a great con­test. ‘‘Deano set the stan­dard for fu­ture play­ers in that era about how to run be­tween wick­ets in the one-day game. That’s one of the great lega­cies he left. He just had a great love for the game as a player, coach and com­men­ta­tor. His life was cricket and he’ll be sadly missed.’’

In 164 ODIs, Jones scored 6068 runs at 44.61.

Jones rated Hadlee ‘‘one of the greats’’, and in an in­ter­view with for­mer team-mate Damien Flem­ing for cricket.com.au spoke of their fi­nal joust at Auck­land’s Eden Park in 1990.

It was Hadlee’s last ODI in New Zealand, and he scored 79 in the hosts’ pal­try to­tal of 162. Then Jones slayed the bowlers ev­ery­where, hit­ting five sixes in his un­beaten 102 off 91 balls in a com­fort­able Aus­tralian vic­tory.

Jones told Flem­ing: ‘‘Peo­ple were run­ning on the ground and I went straight down the race to fol­low him [Hadlee] and sledge him, and I walked in the dress­ing room. The room was empty.

‘‘And I looked at him and he’s got a beer and said ‘ Deano you want a beer’, and I said ‘con­grat­u­la­tions, great ca­reer mate, well done’. And I sat there with my pads on for an­other hour and a half talk­ing about the great times.’’

For Hadlee there were plenty of great times to dis­cuss when they caught up. He said Jones and Den­nis Lillee were two of his life­long Aussie friend­ships, forged in trans-Tas­man crick­et­ing bat­tle.

‘‘We’ve had a re­la­tion­ship for nearly 35 years and all of a sud­den it’s gone . . . off the field you de­velop these great mates and friend­ships and you feel you can call or text at any time and you’ll get a re­sponse. That, to me, is life ful­fill­ing.’’

KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Dean Jones, left, who died sud­denly in In­dia, shared a unique re­la­tion­ship with Sir Richard Hadlee, right. The two were fierce com­bat­ants on the field – Hadlee dom­i­nat­ing their con­tests in test cricket, Jones re­vers­ing the trend in one-day matches – but shared a mu­tual re­spect and be­came good friends over 35 years.

Dean Jones will best be re­mem­bered as an in­no­va­tive one-day bats­man.

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