Jones quits Derbyshire

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire, second from bottom of the Britannic Assurance table, lurched into crisis off the field yesterday when Dean Jones, the former Australian Test player who has been their captain since April last year, announced he had left the club.

Jones, 36, under whose guidance Derbyshire finished second in last year's Championship, blamed "lack of support from senior players" for creating a situation in which he felt he could not continue. "Over the past month a few senior players have failed to give me any support in my endeavours to carry on Derbyshire's success from last year," he said. "These players have great difficulty in coming to terms with the fundamentals that bring success.

"As someone who has always put winning and enjoyment as the paramount reason for playing cricket I can no longer accept the current situation."

Matters came to a head after Derbyshire lost to Hampshire at Chesterfield last Saturday, when their opponents, asked to score 310 in 65 overs, won with more than three overs to spare.

Derbyshire's attempts to set a challenging target had fallen behind the clock as their former captain, Kim Barnett, completed his 50th century for the county. At a clear-the-air players' meeting afterwards, Jones, renowned for a confrontational leadership style, failed to win the backing he sought.

The chairman, Mike Horton, who was the prime mover in bringing Jones and coach Les Stillman to the club from Victoria, spent three days trying to dissuade Jones from leaving, but was forced to accept his resignation.

Less than two weeks ago Jones was celebrating Derbyshire's defeat of the Australians. "He has left on amicable terms, but I am very disappointed," Horton said.

Jones has mixed success with controversy during a career in which he averaged 46 in Test cricket and an even more impressive 72 in one-day internationals. He retired from international cricket in April 1994 after an unhappy tour of South Africa, a decision Allan Border described as "hasty." Last May he lost the captaincy of Victoria after backing Stillman over the divisive sacking of wicketkeeper Darren Berry.

Jones promised to give Derbyshire "the Aussie feel of things" and last year's title challenge seemed to indicate a positive response. But their failure to win any of their first five Championship matches this summer, combined with frustration over Dominic Cork's injury problems - the England bowler's hernia yesterday ruled him out for the season - is said to have exhausted his tolerance.

In temporary charge on the field is Phillip DeFreitas, who won his first toss as captain but saw Derbyshire slump to 16 for 4 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston before Vince Clarke (99) led a recovery to 200 all out.

Reports, scoreboard, page 30

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