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HUW TURBERVILL: Dean Jones joined Derbyshire, along with the coach Les Stillman, the year after they had finished 14th in the County Championship. In 1996 Jones and Stillman led the county to second place. Bizarrely things then went wrong.
Dean Jones during his time as Derbyshire captain in the 1990s
Dean Jones revitalised Derbyshire when he became captain in 1996, before his stay was cut short in controversial circumstances. Now the Australian wants to return to the County Ground and finish the job off.
Jones joined Derbyshire, along with the coach Les Stillman, his fellow Victorian, the year after Derbyshire had finished 14th in the County Championship. In 1996 Jones and Stillman led the county to second place.
Bizarrely things then went wrong. The Derbyshire chairman Mike Horton is understood to have asked Jones to inform half-a-dozen players they were no longer needed beyond the end of that summer. But nor was he. The plan was for him to be succeeded by Dominic Cork. Understandably Jones refused to do that, and quit in June. By the end of that summer, Derbyshire finished 16th.
Jones with Kevin Pietersen during the 2017-18 Big Bash
Jones was understandably aggrieved. He had allegedly encountered resistance from some players, including Kim Barnett, who had been the previous captain for 12 years, but had got the best out of Phil DeFreitas, Chris Adams, Kevin Dean, John Owen and Andy Harris, and blooded a young Ian Blackwell. He should have been allowed to finish the project.
Now with his old rival Barnett leaving Derbyshire again after a 22-month spell as cricket advisor, Jones would welcome a return.
He has coaching experience, after winning two Pakistan Super Leagues with Islamabad United (2016 and 2018), and would leap at the chance to work alongside John Wright, who is coaching Derbyshire in the Vitality Blast.
Jones won 52 Test caps, scoring 11 centuries. He was also a magnificent ODI player, appearing 164 times.
He has unfinished business. Will Derbyshire, who have not won the title since 1936, be tempted into a reunion?