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Trevor still has an underarm problem

His action, designed to prevent McKechnie hitting a six to tie the match, shocked the cricket world.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 14:48 IST

His action, designed to prevent tailender Brian McKechnie hitting a six to tie the match, shocked the cricket world, soured relations between New Zealand and Australia and earned Trevor and Greg Chappell notoriety which has lasted quarter of a century.

On Wednesday, to mark the 25th anniversary of the "underarm incident", the principals in the affair, including them Trevor Chappell and McKechnie, gathered in Auckland, New Zealand to recall and partially recreate the incident.

The Trans-Tasman Business Circle hosted a lunch at which Trevor Chappell, McKechnie and Bruce Edgar, who scored a century in the match and was the non-striking batsman when the ball was bowled, spoke of the lasting effect of the incident on their lives. Trevor Chappell went on to a coaching career, leading Bangladesh immediately after it's admission to Test cricket. McKechnie, who was one of a few sportsmen to play both rugby and cricket for New Zealand, never played another international cricket match, but became a New Zealand selector.

Neither has been able to escape the legacy of the incident, which caused then New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon to say the Australians' yellow uniforms were appropriate for a team guilty of cowardice.

"I bowled 736 deliveries in international cricket and only one of them was underarm," Chappell said on Wednesday.

"It was the only significant one that I bowled," he added. "I do a lot of coaching these days and kids who were clearly born after 1981 say, `are you the guy who bowled the underarm?' and sort of laugh. I say, `Yeah, thanks mate."'

"It comes up all the time. Some years ago, I realized I had better get used to it or I would go crazy trying to avoid it." McKechnie said though he was the "victim" he, too, had been haunted by the incident.

"It's just been one of those things you have to live with," he said. "To be perfectly honest, I wish it never happened, but it did and you can't wind the clock back."

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 14:48 IST