Ten Trevor Chappell performances we should remember (that weren’t the underarm)

Stephen Vagg Roar Guru

By Stephen Vagg, Stephen Vagg is a Roar Guru


33 Have your say

    When ‘Sandpapergate’ broke, The Daily Telegraph devoted a front page to former Australian cricketer Trevor Chappell, lamenting the fact that bowling underarm to the Kiwis in a one-dayer in 1981 overshadowed everything he ever did in life.

    While most people remember Trevor for the underarm incident, hardcore cricket fans remembered a lot more.

    1. WSC Australia versus WSC West Indies, 1977-78 World Series Country Cup
    Chappell made his first-class debut in 1972-73 for South Australia, but his initial performances were patchy; he had more success in the Lancashire League.

    He probably owed the fact he was offered a World Series Cricket contract in 1977 to the fact he was the younger brother of Ian and Greg – but Trevor ended up among the leading run scorers in the Country Cup during the first season.

    A highlight was the 110 not out he scored against the West Indies in a Country Cup game, against an attack that included Andy Roberts and Wayne Daniel. These runs and his 2-53 with the ball helped Australia win by 17.

    2. WSC Cavaliers versus WSC World XI, 1978-79 WSC Cavaliers Country Tour
    In his second summer of WSC, Chappell mostly played for the multi-national WSC Cavaliers. He was one of their best batsman, with a highlight being his 126 in Bendigo against a World XI whose attack included Imran Khan, Garth Le Roux, Clive Rice, Derek Underwood, Mike Procter and Tony Greig.

    3. Western Australia versus NSW, 1979-80 Sheffield Shield
    In the first Sheffield Shield game for NSW after the WSC peace treaty, Chappell was controversially picked over the non-WSC John Dyson, but responded with a brilliant 150 that anchored a 319 second-innings run chase. Chappell would go on to be a key figure in the NSW revival of the early 1980s (though he never topped that 150).

    4. NSW versus Queensland, 1980-81 Sheffield Shield
    Chappell scored 111 against a Queensland attack who all either had played or would go on to play Test cricket: Jeff Thomson, Carl Rackemann, Geoff Dymock, Phil Carlson, Trevor Hohns, Alan Border and Greg Chappell. The next highest score in that NSW innings was 50.

    It was the first Sheffield Shield game I ever went to and though, as a Queenslander, it was annoying to see him prop up NSW’s resistance, I still remember how well he batted.

    5. Australia versus England, 1981 Ashes first Test
    Chappell was a surprise selection on the 1981 Ashes squad, controversially picked over Doug Walters, who had been in strong form. Maybe the selectors felt sorry for Trevor because of underarm, but he had enjoyed a decent Shield season, and picked as 12th man for a Test (replacing Shaun Graf – yes, that’s right, Shaun Graf was 12th man for Australia).

    Most thought Martin Kent would get the middle order spot vacated by Greg Chappell (who elected not to tour), but Kent had a shocking run of form early on, while Trevor hit some useful knocks, so he was picked.

    In the second innings he came to the wicket with Australia at 3-77 chasing 132 and scored 20 not out off 65 balls, hitting the winning runs.

    Chappell kept his spot in the next two Tests, until the famous disaster at Headingly, which was his last Test match.

    (An aside – in the Headingly game, during Ian Botham’s second innings batting onslaught, Kim Hughes never, not once, called upon Trevor Chappell to bowl, despite the latter’s proven handiness with the ball. Trevor didn’t bowl one ball in Tests under Hughes and when Australia collapsed in the second innings, Chappell lasted the second-most balls out of any Australian batsman, with 8 off 56 balls).

    6. WA versus NSW, 1981-82 McDonald’s Cup semi-final
    NSW had to defend 245 against Western Australia in Perth but Chappell’s 4-35 helped ensure the home side fell 50 runs short and NSW made the final.

    7. NSW versus WA, 1982-83 Sheffield Shield final
    Because the final was played in Perth, NSW had to beat the mighty WA outright and did so by 54 runs – in part due to Chappell’s 3-32 and 4-45, plus 43 runs with the bat, and a catch.

    It was the first time NSW won the Shield since 1965-66.

    (Chappell had already contributed to Shield victories by South Australia in 1975-76 and WA in 1976-77; he would play for NSW the years they won the comp in 1984-85 and 1985-86 though not in the finals – he was clearly good luck at Shield level.)

    8. Australia versus India, 1983 World Cup 11th match
    The 1983 World Cup campaign was a shocker for Australia, who lost to Zimbabwe, had several players meet up with South African agents about rebel cricket tours, and saw a mutiny against captain Kim Hughes.

    One of the few highlights was a 162-run victory over India, anchored by Chappell’s man of the match innings of 110. In the re-match, Australia lost and India went on to win the comp.

    9. WA versus NSW, 1984-85 McDonald’s Cup
    NSW were defending only 203 but Chappell’s 4-41 helped see them home by 14 runs.

    10. North Sydney versus ACT, 1986-87 State Limited Overs Comp final
    Chappell spent the last few seasons of his career in grade cricket. He captained Norths in this game, scoring 46 runs and took 2-41, helping his team win by six runs.

    It was a fine career. Trevor Chappell definitely deserves to be remembered for more than one thing and he should know that he is.

    Could any Roarers out there who know him forward this? The bloke sounds as though he needs cheering up.

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    The Crowd Says (33)

    • April 20th 2018 @ 8:22am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 20th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Well done Stephen. Top little list. Regarding the 110 vs the Roberts lead West Indies (which I think was at Lismore), I read somewhere that Trevor said the crowd were heckling him for holding up the mighty and popular West Indies while he was trying not to be sconed!

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:32am
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        Thanks Pope – yes Trevor described himself more as a “grinding” sort of batsman – which is maybe why his batting didn’t have the same success at ODI level as his bowling did.

    • Roar Guru

      April 20th 2018 @ 9:22am
      Anindya Dutta said | April 20th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Excellent Stephen. Since I didn’t follow Aussie domestic cricket at the time had no idea about his exploits. Very interesting thanks. The innings versus India I do remember.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        yes it sort of stood out in his international career that ODI century – India only just got through to the semis in that tournament but they made it count at the end

        I feel Trevor could’ve been a great star at T20

    • Roar Guru

      April 20th 2018 @ 9:36am
      JamesH said | April 20th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Thanks for this list. I never knew much about Trevor beyond the underarm. A couple of impressive performances in there.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:34am
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        thanks James – I always felt it was a shame the bloke was remembered for just the one thing – it might’ve been different had he scored that ODI century at home in Oz…

    • April 20th 2018 @ 10:08am
      Steven Thomlinson said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      Enjoyed coaching against Trevor whilst he was at Kings. A tremendous coach who had the respect of all. A true gentleman. Thanks for the stats

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:35am
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        That’s so nice to hear

      • April 21st 2018 @ 8:02am
        Aucklandlaurie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        You would think Gentlmen would know when something is right or wrong….sure it may not have been in the laws of the game at the time, but it came pretty obvious to anyhone with an ounce of ethic that the rules needed amenment, if only to protect the game from Gentlemen like Trevor chappell.

        If we dont remeber him for what he did, then acts like his will be repeated.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 10:05am
          Stephen Vagg said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          What were his options though? His brother, the captain of the team, ordered him to do it… what should he have done? Said “no”? It wasn’t illegal.

          And I’m not saying we shouldn’t remember what happened, we should just remember other things he did.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 22nd 2018 @ 7:18am
            El Loco said | April 22nd 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

            Good read as always Stephen, but your question “what should he have done, said no?”.

            Well yeah, he should’ve. Something like “I’ve got this bro, this blokes not gonna hit me over the fence”. That seems reasonable even if he didn’t have the foresight to say “this will haunt both of us for the rest of our lives”.

            We know he would’ve had the support of Rod Marsh, and as far as I know the whole team. Not to mention the rest of Australia.

    • April 20th 2018 @ 10:16am
      Paul said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      Thanks very much for putting this article together Stephen. There were two things that stood out for me that many readers might not appreciate. Not only was he playing against some of the best and fastest bowlers in the world, the pitches they played on had a lot more juice than the pitches the guys play on today. They were typical bush pitches.

      The other thing was his fielding and I thought he was hands down a better fielder than either of his brothers who were no slouches. It’s a real shame we never got to see the very best of Trevor, he was a very good cricketer and this article highlights that.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 10:38am
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        Yeah I think batting in WSC was extremely tough – everyone who played it seemed to think that – in part bc of the pitches but also bc in the lower tier games like the Country Cup you still had to face people like Imran Khan!

        It’s a shame there isn’t some way to measure fielding via stats – everyone talks about what a good fielder T Chappell was. Like with the recently departed Colin Bland, you have to talk people’s word for it if you didn’t see it. But a good fielder is worth their weight in gold in a team, especially in one day cricket.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 4:20pm
        Armchair Expert said | April 20th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

        +1 on T.Chappell’s fielding Paul, he was in the best 2 or 3 in the country in the early to mid 80s if not the best, as for him not bowling in his 3 tests, the conditions there should of suited him but Hughes preferred to flog the fast bowlers, which was costly in the end.

        • April 20th 2018 @ 7:16pm
          BrainsTrust said | April 20th 2018 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

          Kim Hughes was a total nutcase, he had a better team than England, he only bowled Bright for a few overs in the second innings after following on. Hughes could have won the Ashes just resting his fast bowlers a bit more with the spin bowler, if he had the sense to use Trevor Chappell as the fourth change with those wickets it would have been a thrashing.
          I just now have to watch out for the nut that keeps saying Kim Hughes was whiteanted whatever that its, Kim Hughes no greater fool in Australian cricketing history.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 10:09am
            Stephen Vagg said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            Not sure I’d say Hughes was a nutcase – I would say that like far too many Australian captains he only respected pace bowling and when they didn’t work he struggled to think outside the box. Alan Border in his early days and Steve Smith were a little like that with their captaincy – he seemed loathe to use part timers – whereas truly great captains like Ian Chappell used them very well.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 3:28pm
              BrainsTrust said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

              In the match where they lost after making the opposition follow on. Across both innings which were consecutive the 3 fast bowlers bowled all the overs apart from 4 from Bright in the second innings. No other captain would do that , thats why Hughes is in a class of his own. Its a different level to not just using part timers.

              • May 1st 2018 @ 10:03pm
                Stephen Vagg said | May 1st 2018 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

                Look at the scorecards from 1985 – Border wouldn’t use part timers there enough. Wasn’t just hughes!

    • April 20th 2018 @ 12:25pm
      Harry said | April 20th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

      Excellent article Stephen and thanks for posting. I remember that 1981 first test knock. Looks like a straightforward small knock but he really had to show some skill in tough conditions – 20 of the best runs you could hope for. As we saw later, chasing small totals wasn’t easy on that tour.

      • April 20th 2018 @ 1:59pm
        Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

        Thanks Harry. I love all the hard core cricket fans enjoying this article 🙂 If Trevor Chappell had managed to score an extra 20 runs in that 3rd test in 1981 Australian cricket in the early 1980s could’ve been entirely different… Australia get back the Ashes… Kim Hughes made captain in 81/82…. gets to captain a full strength Aussie side at home two years earlier… T Chappell gets remembered for something else other than the underarm…

        In truth he wasn’t really a test batsman (his first class average was under 30) but he was an extremely effective player at times.