February 1, 1981, witnessed a dark day in the cricket world when former cricketer and the then Australian captain Greg Chappell exploited a loophole that won him the match in the Benson & Hedges World Series but cost him the respect of fellow players and fans. It was the third final in the Benson & Hedges World Series between the Aussies and New Zealand and the latter needed six runs off the last ball to draw the match.
But the game was changed entirely when the skipper ordered the bowler and his younger brother Trevor Chappell to bowl an underarm delivery to avoid Kiwis any chance for tying the match let alone winning it.
At that time in bowling, an underarm ball wasn’t against the rules, however, it was considered against the spirit of the game. As a batsman, it is impossible to hit an underarm ball and this resulted in Australia winning the match and the series by 2-1.
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The outcome of the incident was the International Cricket Council putting a ban on underarm bowling.
Not just this, but in 1982, when Australia went to New Zealand on a tour, then during the first ODI, as Greg Chappell walked out to bat, a spectator rolled a lawn bowl on the ground to ridicule the incident from the year before.
It wasn’t just the public who was criticizing the incident but many important personalities believed it to be the most disgusting incident in the history of cricket.
The then New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon said it was “the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket”
The following day Ian Chappell wrote, “Fair dinkum, Greg, how much pride do you sacrifice to win $35,000? Because, brother, you sacrificed a lot in front of a huge TV audience and 52,825 people.”
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