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23 Oct 2020 14:54
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  •   Home > News > Entertainment

    Brett Lee pays tribute to Dean Jones on live TV hours after attempting to save his life

    Just hours after the death of champion Australian batsman Dean Jones, the show goes on for his broadcast colleagues Brett Lee and Scott Styris, who pay tribute next to a chair left empty for the "absolute legend".

    Standing next to the empty chair of colleague Dean Jones, retired Australian fast bowler Brett Lee has paid tribute on live television to the "absolute legend", whose life he had reportedly tried to save hours earlier.

    Champion batsman Jones, 59, died of a heart attack in Mumbai, where he was providing coverage of the Indian Premier League for Indian network Star Sports.

    After Jones collapsed in their Mumbai hotel, Lee reportedly tried to revive his colleague before he was taken to hospital.

    Lee and former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris worked with Jones on the Select Dugout pre-game show and both fronted the cameras just hours after his death.

    'I watched him jog up and down the hallway'

    Styris fought his emotions as he spoke of how he had seen Jones that morning, jogging up and down the corridor as he looked to exercise in the "bubble" environment.

    "In many ways the Dugout was Deano," Styris said.

    "Who would have thought this morning, when we got up, had breakfast with Deano, I watched him jog up and down the hallway, that was his way of keeping fit.

    "Who would have thought merely a couple of hours later he had this heart attack.

    "Incredibly sad … we've had a lot of friendly banter …" Styris said before breaking off, grimacing and looking at the ceiling, unable to continue.

    Lee then stepped in, saying Jones would have wanted the show to go on.

    "What I would say about Deano is that he would have wanted us to be here tonight," Lee said.

    "He was an absolute legend.

    "Obviously firstly to his family and friends we send our condolences.

    "It's real tough day for everyone, not only for his close mates and his close mates at home but the whole cricketing world in general.

    "What Deano would've wanted is for us to come out here in the dugout, get it done, have some fun for the game we all love."

    Jones's chair on the set of Select Dugout was left empty, with his jacket draped over the back of the chair.

    Players from both Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore teams wore black armbands in the match that took place after the show.

    On Channel 9, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said Lee was "traumatised" by what happened and that Cricket Australia would support him.

    "We're trying to work out a way how to support his family. The cricket family will come together and we'll mourn, we'll cry, we'll grieve for him and then celebrate his magnificent life," Eddings said.

    "[We also have to] look out for Brett Lee, how can we support Brett, who was obviously very traumatised by what happened.

    "Really just getting the cricketing family together and support Dean's family but also Brett."

    Australia coach Justin Langer also expressed his condolences, while echoing calls for Lee to get support.

    "[Jones was] one of his mates who he'd been working with, one of his colleagues. I can't imagine what Binga [Lee] has been going through," Langer said.

    "Our heart goes out not just to him, obviously, but obviously to Deano's family as well in this shocking time."

    Langer puts Jones in elite company

    Langer also paid tribute to Jones, who he said had revolutionised the game.

    "It's a real shock. I was only talking to Jonesy last week," Langer said.

    "He was so passionate about Australian cricket, he was so passionate about the game of cricket full stop."

    Langer said Jones was one of the very few players to have truly revolutionised the game.

    "There are not that many players who really revolutionised the game," Langer said.

    "You think about maybe Warney, you think about Adam Gilchrist and Dean Jones with one-day cricket — the way his running between the wickets, his athleticism, the way he took on the game."

    Eddings said he hoped Jones could be honoured at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.

    "Hopefully we can do something with the Boxing Day Test," he said

    "He owned the ground. It was his stadium when he walked out to bat on Boxing Day."

    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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