Gifted Jones forced a junior cricket rule change as a youngster

As a youngster, Dean Jones was such a prolific run scorer for the Ashwood Cricket Club that the rules in the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association were changed.

Jones, who died on Thursday of a heart attack in Mumbai, made his mark as an international batsman, but his talent was on show from an early age.

"Dean was playing in the under-11 cricket team for Ashwood and was making centuries nearly every Saturday morning. So much was his domination that authorities changed the rules to allow players to only make 70, or something around that figure, before retiring," Jim Usher, a junior coach at the club, recalled on Friday.

The late Dean Jones, pictured at the MCG in 1996, was always a gifted cricketer. Credit:Penny Stephens

"I was coaching my son Craig in the under-12s at the time and all at the club knew that Dean was going to make it big in cricket. He was a gentle, young bloke."

By introducing the rule change for all teams, it allowed more players to have a bat.

Usher, also a former journalist with The Argus and the Herald and the Weekly Times, remembered the precocious Jones not wanting his father Barney watching on. Barney, of course, was the tough-as-teak former captain and coach of Premier club, Carlton.

"Dean didn't like his father Barney watching him bat but Barney used to hide behind a tree at the ground where Dean was playing and keep an eye on his young son," Usher said.

In his autobiography, Deano My Call, Jones explained why he didn't want his father on hand.

"I felt doubly nervous if he was there, not that he was the sort of bloke who'd launch into me if I played a bad shot. Dad wasn't like that at all but I felt I wanted to please him when he was watching and that made it extra hard," Jones wrote.

As a 13-year-old, he made almost 900 runs in the under-14s, claiming the batting average and helping his side to the premiership. He also made 200 runs in the seniors.

Jones said he was a good hooker, puller and cutter as a teenager but he developed into a front-foot player. His development continued apace – a double century ensued – and he soon joined Carlton before later linking with the Melbourne Cricket Club.

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