The Cricketer
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DEAN JONES ON AB, MADRAS 1986, AND LOOKING BACK IN ANGER

"He didn't get me out! I thought he was done then..."

Are you frustrated a man of your talents did not play more Tests?

After playing my first two Tests against the West Indies (scores of 45, 5, 1 and 11) I thought I would never play again. So playing 52 Tests, I got lucky. Playing in two winning Ashes series I will never forget, particularly the 1989 tour (he also played in 1990/91). 

What were your most memorable moments in Tests (apart from Madras 1986)?

Probably the 1989 tour. Everyone on that tour did something. It was the first time we won the Ashes in England since 1975. Meeting the Queen and so many celebs was awesome. But as a cricketer - and I dreamt of that since I was eight years old - to make people raise their eyebrows was to make runs on that tour. I should have been picked on the 1985 tour. I made heaps of runs at that time in the Sheffield Shield. I was ready. I also knocked back going to South Africa on the rebel tour. I was loyal to the Baggy Green cap and also vehemently against apartheid. I said no to $200k tax-free. Which would have bought me a very lovely home, I can assure you!

How did you possibly bat when you had the runs  and were vomiting in that tied match against India (Madras 1986)?

I wanted to prove it to myself, my captains and my detractors! Like I should have been touring on the 1985 tour, I just wanted it so badly.

What did you think when AB said they need a ‘tough Queenslander’ out there? 

AB knew me better than most! He gets me. He understands me. That's part of captaincy that he knew what turns me on and he knew I am a loyal Victorian. 

Do you still aspire to be 'a tough Queenslander' and is that what all young Australians should aspire to be? Is it like old English parents who would travel to Yorkshire so their son would be eligible?

Well I still believe if you play in New South Wales you get a better chance than most! 

Do you and AB laugh about it now?

I still ask him why he dropped me, he still doesn't give me a good enough answer. I was 31 when I was finished. I played until I was 38. But in reality, we only lost two more Test series until I retired... so maybe they made the right decision. I still think they should have picked me for the 1996 World Cup, but making a final is a great effort in itself. 

In the 1986/87 Ashes, does Australia’s batting against IT Botham at the MCG give you nightmares?

He didn't get me out! I thought he was done then. He was bowling 130kph... it was Gladdy (Gladstone Small), (Graham) Dilley and Daffy (Phil DeFreitas) who worried our bats. Beefy would tell you he wasn't at his best then. 

How was your experience as a player for Durham, playing at places like Seaton Carew? Did you feel completely out of the spotlight?

I loved it! I was a dad for the first time, I was in good form and a good place. The fans and the players were awesome! I still value my life membership of the Durham CCC! I hated the driving, I didn't know if they were pulling up or putting down the A1 during that season! To dig the first sods of soil with Ian Botham was an honour and I still value them as my favourite county. The grounds around Durham were very slow, so my experience in the Yorkshire leagues in 1981 and 1988 was helpful as they had similar pitches. 

You hauled Derbyshire up to second in the Championship, then were a victim of politics. Do you look back in anger?

Yeah I do... there were certain personalities that affected the club’s growth. In 1996 I was told by the committee that we had no chance of doing well in the County Championship but they wanted a semi-final in the Benson & Hedges, NatWest or Sunday League.

The committee just wanted me to control the team and prepare them like an Australian team. I said we had a chance to win the Championship and we needed to just work on the players’ workloads and prepare a better home pitch for all players to get some confidence. We ended up coming second in 1996. I was so upset for the players. We all worked so hard. What I loved was that Chris Adams played for England just after. Andy Harris was selected for England A. We picked some local players like Johnny Owen and Kevin Dean. We went to the Lancs league and found Ian Blackwell. The work done by Karl Krikken and Daffy was awesome. Big Dev Malcolm was a pleasure to captain and what a bowler he was! The players were enjoying each other's company and each other's skills. 

We didn't start off well in 1997, but we did beat Australia which not many teams or Test teams did at that time. I was asked to sack six players from our squad. I asked if my contract was being extended next year and beyond? The committee said no. So why would I sack the players? So I packed my bags and left. Some players had their own agendas that split the team. If you are not wanted, then it's time to go. So I resigned. How have they gone since? Same people, same mistakes. The Derby fans deserve more and so do their local players. There are kids there in the local leagues who are good enough to represent Derbyshire CCC, but they always look elsewhere. It's sad. 

Do you think you could have made it as a specialist offie?

I threw it… so… no! Ha.

Please tell us why you have written this book…

I wanted to put something back for young and old. As the game changes, so do techniques and thinking. Most of the contributors wanted to talk about the mental side of the game… you can have a rubbish technique but possess a strong mind and you can do OK at this! 

Dean Jones' Cricket Tips (the things they don’t teach you at the academy) is out now through Scene Publishing