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

19th April, 2018
Trevor Chappell (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
Roar Guru
19th April, 2018

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).

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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.