In the tea break, Waugh helps him change his clothes, removing the drenched and disgusting whites, and assisting the Victorian put on something fresher. For all that, by the time Jones is on 120 runs, he is sure he is going to collapse from heatstroke. Dry-retching at the end of every over, the Indians graciously allow him to have a runner. But by the time he reaches 150, he can’t go on.
“Mate,” the Victorian croaks to his batting partner and captain, Allan Robert Border, “I’m going to have to go off. I just can’t go on, I’m too crook.”
You could hit Border’s eyes with a sledgehammer right then, and the hammer would crack. This is Test cricket, FFS! Every run counts, and you go until you drop.
“Sure, mate,” Border says in reply, his voice dripping with a particularly acidic kind of sarcasm. “And when you go back in, you can ask them to send a Queenslander back out, because that’s who we need out here.”
Jones stays, and goes on to score 210 runs, which would prove to be his highest Test score – and his every run did count, as this was the famed tied Test. Jones savours his feat while lying in hospital on a saline drip – and it would take him more than six months to fully recover.
Vale, Dean Jones. You will be remembered for many things, but that ’un was the innings of your career.
Bryson’s fairway to heaven
Thirty-odd years ago, when I dined with the great Australian Olympian Murray Rose, he reminisced about the culture of distance swimming in the 1950s. A phrase he used has stuck with me ever since: “On the blocks, we understood – we’re going to hurt each other, but not too much.”
As I took it, he meant there was an unspoken convention between them that while they were certainly racing, there would be no crazy sprinting from the first – rather they would all go out strong and leave the insane effort to the end.
Anything else would be “not cricket”, an expression that perfectly encapsulated another example of breaking conventions and pursuing a course of action that, while within the rules, was not in the spirit of the game – “bodyline” bowling. To counter Bradman in the early 1930s, those Pommy bastards aimed their bowling at the Don’s head and upper body, while stacking the leg-side field.
In both cases, of course, once the conventions were broken, the other competitors had to follow suit. These days there are few conventions left in sport to break in the pursuit of victory, but I fancy we’ve just seen another go by the board – at the hands of a man who has pursued his sport like the physics major he is, looking at everything as a scientific problem to be solved. This convention was so universal it never even needed to be stated, but it ran along the lines of: golf is a test of our skill and artistry, not our (sniff,) bulk and understanding of (sniff-sniff) physics.
The broad feeling is: we are artistic golfers, not hulking weightlifters or freaking physicists!
As I wrote on Thursday, the breakthrough of American Bryson DeChambeau to win the US Open by six strokes, in part by having packed on 10kg of muscle during the Plague pause, enabling him to strike the ball with more force and hit it further; and in part by having had his irons custom-made to all the same length so that he only need perfect one swing, not a half-dozen of them, has aroused enormous angst in the golf world. The broad feeling is: we are artistic golfers, not hulking weightlifters or freaking physicists!
Yup. Good luck. Adapt or change. The history of those who refuse to adapt once conventions are broken is very grim.
More money than sense
Yup. I know.
When you hear that the NRL is cutting $50 million from its annual costs, the first thought is, “Well, that sounds like good management,” and of course it is. But the next thought is, “HANG ON A SECOND … seriously?” This business is so awash in money it intends to slash a million bucks a week and still offer business as usual, and yet they were the ones crying poor on every occasion, perpetually asking governments for money to build stadia, host State of Origin etc? Listen, we need government to allocate taxpayers’ money depending on the need for funds not just how loud is the scream, and how influential are those doing the screaming.
Chance plight is football’s shame
Gawd, this is an ugly story. Two years ago, promising soccer player Angus Chance, aged just 20, was at training with Dulwich Hill FC, when a teammate, 34-year-old Nathan Bowden-Haase, started yelling abuse at three young Japanese trialists, along the lines of “f—ing Japanese c—s.”
Chance rose to the occasion, covering himself, his family and his game in honour, telling Bowden-Haase, to “grow up, stop being racist,” whereupon Bowden-Haase hit Chance so hard in the jaw he shattered it, putting the young man in hospital for a few weeks with a range of ailments so severe, including displaced teeth and post-traumatic stress disorder, that they persist to this day. Bowden-Haase was convicted of assault, sentenced to 20 months’ home detention, and is now being pursued in a civil case by Chance.
So far, so ugly, yes? As shocking as the whole thing is, the details that have emerged from the legal action also taken by Chance against all levels of the soccer administration that seem most staggering of all.
As covered by the Herald’s Vince Rugari, Chance alleges in his statement of claim that, first-up, Dulwich Hill FC refused to call either an ambulance or the police, meaning it was Chance’s mother who got him to Royal North Shore, which then did the honours with the police. Chance further alleges he was asked by a club representative to “not disclose the true circumstances” of what had happened, compounded by another person in the club allegedly saying “in a team WhatsApp group that Football NSW’s lawyers had requested nobody from the club make contact with Mr Chance or his father.”
I know. If those allegations stand up, it would mean that instead of Football NSW lauding the hero who stood up for the inclusive values of the game, Chance was being treated as the problem in the piece, the one who had let the side down. To this day, Chance has not received a public word of support from any soccer official at any level, right up to the FFA, nor from the sports ministers, state and federal.
Chance and his family will begin mediation this week.
Scrum of all parts
Meantime, it was our own Malcolm Knox who most eloquently pointed out the complete uselessness of the rugby league scrum, which he likened to the human coccyx, the vestigial remains of a tail. It was important once, and you can still see its traces to this day, but its time has gone. It was something like that, anyway, but put in more clever Malcolm language. And he was right! The news this week that the NRL is having trial games in veritable dead rubbers where they play without scrums is good. They are an embarrassment to the game and will not be missed.
What they said
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews: “Dean Jones was the epitome of grit, determination and sheer fight. He rewrote the rule book for the one-day game — and should have been picked for many more than his 52 Tests. A legend of sport. A legend of this state. And we love him ‘cause he’s Victorian.”
Star India television, on Thursday evening: “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.”
Former AFL player Shaun Smith on receiving a million-dollar payout on a personal concussion policy he took while he was playing: “Some days you wake up and you are just not right. You wake up in a fog while other days you wake up and feel fine. It makes concussion real. The footy codes need to realise that if you get knocked out you can’t play next week or the week after. I think about boxing where, if you get knocked out, I think you have to have six to eight weeks off. So why is AFL any different?”
English rugby forward James Haskell talking of the episode with a hotel maid that helped derail the England’s World Cup campaign in 2015: “That’s when I made the fateful and inappropriate mistake of saying … ‘You haven’t given us an Aussie kiss, which is a French kiss but Down Under’.” The maid, to her credit, made a complaint of sexual harassment. But Haskell has no doubt where the blame lies: “The RFU’s handling of the whole situation was shambolic.”
Tasmanian Richie Porte on his wife allowing him to compete in the Tour de France and miss the birth of his daughter on one condition: “[She] said to me, ‘Go to the Tour, do your thing … [but] if I turn the television on and you’re at the back of the peloton, I’ll be a little bit pissed’.” Instead, he was right near the front of the peloton, and came third.
Porte on finishing third overall: “I came here and I knew I had a mission to achieve. To miss the birth — I feel like this goes a little bit of the way to make it worthwhile.”
Sailor Belinda Stowell on winning Olympic gold in Sydney: “It means that I was the best in the world for two weeks.”
Novak Djokovic on breaking racquets during a game: “I’ll probably do it again. I don’t want to do it, but when it comes, it happens. That’s how I guess I release sometimes my anger . . . I am working on my mental and emotional health as much as I’m working on my physical health.”
Sam Kerr wants to inspire the next generation: “I hope that we can be, in 30 years, what Cathy Freeman was to kids like us.”
Interim Dragons coach Dean Young burns his team by invoking the Dapto Canaries: “We wouldn’t have beaten Dapto the way we played in the first half. It was under-8s stuff.”
Rory McIlroy on Bryson DeChambeau winning the US Open, while hitting only four fairways of the last 21 he faced: “I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a US Open champion does. Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know, but it’s not the way I saw the course being played or this tournament being played. It’s hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Bryson DeChambeau: “I think I’m definitely changing the way people think about the game.”
Tim Glasby on retiring from the NRL due to concussion: “When I was playing Queensland Cup there was nothing … you would get a knock and you might tell someone afterwards, or you might have a beer and get on with it … I had no issues for a long time then I got a knock to the head and it started getting worse. That’s just my situation. I’ve erred on the side of caution this time and I hope by doing that I’ll limit any damage that may come long term.”
Team of the week
Billie Jean King. The Federation Cup will be renamed after the tennis trailblazer.
Glebe Dirty Reds. This team – not to be confused with the Drummoyne Dirty Reds of union fame, was one of the foundation clubs of rugby league in Sydney – and has qualified for its first grand final in 98 years, playing the Maitland Pickers on Sunday.
Benji Marshall. Plays his final game for the Tigers, and possibly his final game in the NRL, on Saturday. Over the years he has been not only a great player, but one of the most entertaining to watch.
ACT Brumbies. Deserved champions of the Super Rugby AU competition, beating the Queensland Reds in a tough match.
Port Adelaide. AFL minor premiers – their first since 2004
Penrith. NRL minor premiers – their first since 2003.
RIP Dean Jones. 1961-2020. Died of a suspected cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Thursday. One of the greats of the game – he particularly excelled in one-day internationals, where he scored 6068 runs, including seven centuries and 46 fifties, in 164 matches. Very social, he was a terrific bloke to break bread with and will be fondly remembered personally, far beyond his exploits on the field.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.