THE 25th anniversary of one of the most controversial incidents in limited-overs cricket history — Trevor's Chappell's underarm delivery — is fast approaching. Brian McKechnie, the New Zealander who threw his bat down in a fit of blinding rage after the ball was rolled along the MCG pitch, has revealed: "I never thought it would become an issue."
On February 1, 1981, Australia set the Kiwis 236 runs to win the third and deciding final of the one-day series. McKechnie walked out to bat with one ball left; seven runs to win, six to tie. Australian captain Greg Chappell proceeded to lose the plot. Ignoring Rod Marsh's protestations of "No! No!" from behind the stumps, Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm in a move he describes as the biggest regret of his career.
"I look back on it more humorously now than I did on the day," McKechnie said from NZ. "Twenty-five years is a long time. I wish it all went away the day after it happened, to be honest. I wish it never happened. It still gets raised in other contexts, inside and outside of sport. When someone thinks Australia have done something to NZ they shouldn't have, the underarm comes up again. We were pissed off at the time, but I never thought it would become an issue. Let's face it, the chances of hitting a six off that ball were remote. But I suppose we were denied the opportunity. A six would have only been a draw, we wouldn't have even won. Next day, the prime minister got involved, everyone was talking about it and a lot of people still are. I had no idea it would still be coming up 25 years later." -- The Age
But cricket also has its sneaky tactics. In February 1981 New Zealand needed six runs to tie the match from the final ball. The Australian captain, Greg Chappell, ordered the bowler, his brother Trevor Chappell, to bowl underarm. He rolled the ball along the ground to avoid the chance of a six. It was described as "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket" by the then prime minister of New Zealand, Rob Muldoon. He said: "It was an act of cowardice and I consider it appropriate that the Australian team were wearing yellow." -- BBC