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Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 14:59 GMT
Chappell remembers fateful day
Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell: 'I knew it would not be well received'
BBC Sport Online recalls the fallout, 20 years on, from Greg Chappell's decision to tell his brother Trevor to bowl underarm in a one-day game against New Zealand.

Twenty years to the day since telling his brother to bowl underarm in a one-day international, former Australian captain Greg Chappell has admitted the day remains one of his biggest regrets.

Chappell's order to brother Trevor came for the final delivery of a limited overs game on February 1, 1981, and prevented Kiwi tailender Brian McKechnie hitting the six runs required for a tie in the first match of the final series.

"If I had my time again I wouldn't do it," Chappell revealed in Australia's Herald Sun newspaper.

The incident provoked massive criticism in both countries and all manner of public figures became embroiled as trans-Tasman relations became increasingly strained.

"Unfortunately I didn't have the luxury of a second guess at it, but at that stage I didn't care.

"I don't think I would be remembered for any of my batting or bowling, so maybe it's better to be remembered for this than nothing at all
  Greg's brother Trevor, who bowled the underarm ball

Chappell insisted that a tough schedule that summer and ongoing negotiations with officials over playing conditions had left him "mentally unfit" to be captain that day.

"By that stage I just didn't care," Chappell continued. "If they told me I'd never play again I wouldn't have cared, which gives an indication of the state of mind I was in.

"As I walked off the ground I was in shock. I had no feelings at all but then a young girl ran across in front of me, stopped and tugged on the sleeve of my shirt. She looked at me and said: 'you cheated'.

Chappell: now in charge at South Australia
Chappell: now in charge at South Australia

"I had known it wasn't going to be well received, but it was only then I realised that maybe it was going to be worse than I thought."

Confused tailender Brian McKechnie, who also won a rugby international for the All Blacks against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park in 1978 with a controversial full-time penalty, was flummoxed into just blocking Chappell's underarm effort and Australia won by six runs.

He said this week of the fateful delivery: "I was disgusted at the time, but when we left the dressing room an hour later, everyone was joking about it."

But the media along with other figures in New Zealand saw it quite differently - even then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon expressed his displeasure to Australian counterpart Malcolm Fraser.

Underarm delivery outlawed

"It was taken up more by the politicians initially and then by the public. I just wish it never happened... I couldn't fathom for years why Greg would do that."

Following the match, the underarm delivery was outlawed and the two umpires who stood at the MCG that day never umpired at international level again.

For his part, Trevor, the lesser-known sibling of Test captains Greg and Ian, has mixed feelings about the incident.

"I don't think I would be remembered for any of my batting or bowling, so maybe it's better to be remembered for this than nothing at all."

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