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On This Day – 1st February, 1981: Trevor Chappell’s Underarm Delivery Shocks the World


It was the third final between Australia and New Zealand, in the Benson & Hedges World Series, and the latter needed six runs on the last ball to tie the match. But questionable tactics from skipper Greg Chappell, and executioner Trevor Chappell, changed the game was played after that. The younger Chappell was asked to bowl an underarm delivery to avoid a tie, which garnered a lot of criticism.

On This Day - 1st February, 1981: Trevor Chappell's Underarm Delivery Shocks the World

It was the third final between Australia and New Zealand, in the Benson & Hedges World Series, and the latter needed six runs on the last ball to tie the match. But questionable tactics from skipper Greg Chappell, and executioner Trevor Chappell, changed the game was played after that. The younger Chappell was asked to bowl an underarm delivery to avoid a tie, which garnered a lot of criticism.

Chasing 236 in the match, Kiwis were stranded at 229 due to the underarm delivery. It has been 40 years, since these events unfolded at the MCG. Till date, Trevor maintains that there is no point apologizing, since the damage has already been done.

“There is not much point. It was a negative thing in your life. Get over it. Get on with life,” he had told Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper.

“That’s also the reason why I have never said sorry to the New Zealanders. Whether I am sorry or whether I am not is not going to change anything. It is not going to make any difference to them.

“One thing I have learnt in life and focus on negative events it does not do you mental health or physical health any good.”

Robert Muldoon, then New Zealand Prime Minister, said the ball was an “act of true cowardice and I consider it appropriate that the Australian team were wearing yellow”.

Asked whether he would bowl the ball differently today, Chappell said he would have to because underarm bowling was subsequently outlawed.

“I was a new player in the team,” the 68-year-old said. “I did not feel I had any authority to say, ‘I don’t think that is a great idea.'”







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