Monday, June 08, 2015

Happy Birthday Derek Underwood

How can one of the sporting heroes of my youth be 70? It's ridiculous.

Anyway, happy birthday to Derek Underwood. Along with Jim Laker and Graeme Swann, he must be one of England's three greatest spinners since Word War II.

In this video Richie Benaud takes us through two of his greatest performances: against Australia at Headingley in 1972 and against Pakistan at Lord's in 1974.

Both took place on helpful wickets and Underwood had the reputation of being deadly in such conditions.

But he was also a great bowler when things were more in favour of the batsman. I remember him fighting and eventually winning a duel with Greg Chappell in the second innings at Old Trafford in 1997 while taking 6-66 and giving England a victory.

As you will see from the video, Underwood bowled left-arm finger spin but at a faster pace than almost any other bowler. He could even knock stumps out of the ground.

Later. And happy birthday to Ray Illingworth (who was England captain in 1972) who is 83 today.


Mark Pack said...

Those undemonstrative celebrations are very much from a different era of sports!

Jonathan Calder said...

Yet here is Mike Brearley writing in The Art of Captaincy:

"The contrast between the attitudes of two generations of players was nicely displayed during the Headingley Test of 1977. During a stoppage for rain, we watched, in the dressing room, a film on television of Jim Laker's match at Old Trafford in 1956. After a few dismissals, Derek Underwood, incredulous, said, 'But they don’t seem pleased about taking wickets!' The players' reactions to our eyes looked low-key."