COLOMBO: Controversial former Australian batsman Dean Jones will be one of the three foreign voices that will form the Ten Cricket commentary panel for the upcoming Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test and ODI series. Alongside Jones in the Ten Cricket commentary box will be ex-Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja and veteran commentator Chishty Mujahid who are to be joined by their Sri Lankan counterparts Russell Arnold, Roshan Abeysinghe and Eric Gauder respectively.
Jones, 53, the former Australia ace batsman was sacked by his current employers, Ten Sports, back in August 2006, for an offensive racial remark he made while commentating on the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo. When South Africa’s Hashim Amla, a devout Muslim, had taken a catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara, Jones was heard to say “the terrorist has got another wicket” although he subsequently maintained that it was an off-air jest to his fellow commentators.
The issue caused outrage back in South Africa with viewers jamming the switchboards of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and SuperSport, whose feed had broadcast the gaffe to South African audiences. However, Jones who insisted that he had later apologised to Amla over his insulting remark managed to secure work in the electronic media back in Australia, before being hired by an Indian network ahead of the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies.
It is also rather ironic that Jones has been snared by Ten Cricket only weeks after South Africa now led by Hashim Amla, had concluded a series in Sri Lanka - where the former saw his contract being terminated, following his infamous gaffe on the current Proteas Test skipper. Jones, right-hander, was once hailed as the best ODI batsman of his generation and in 168 games he scored 6068 runs at an average of 44-61 including seven hundreds and 46 fifties. He also 3631 runs in 52 Tests at an average of 46.55 with 11 centuries.
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