Derek Underwood

Derek Underwood

BatRight-handBowlLeft-arm orthodox
Born8th June 1945National Team Eligibility-
Years of Service1963-1987DebutKent 1963, MCC 1964, England 1966
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Other Teams

MCC President's XI, TN Pearce's XI, MCC Under 25's, International XI, England Under 25's, International Cavaliers, Duke of Norfolk's XI, DH Robin's XI, International Wanderers, England XI, South African Breweries English XI, MCC and England.

Player Biography

No nickname was better earned that the “Deadly” which Derek Underwood’s Kent team-mates conferred on him for the havoc he caused on rain-affected pitches. Such was his accuracy and, for a left-arm spinner, pace – either side of medium when the ball was really biting – that when conditions favoured him an avalanche of wickets was almost guaranteed.

His wizardry brought England one of the most dramatic wins in the history of Tests when, with six minutes left against Australia at The Oval in 1968, he took his fourth wicket in 27 balls. That clinched a 226-run win which squared the series, even though a lunchtime cloudburst which flooded the ground had swallowed all but 75 minutes of the last four hours. In similar circumstances at Hastings in 1973, Underwood demolished Sussex by taking 8 for 9 after a bare-footed Kent team helped the Fire Brigade mop up another flooded ground. Underwood’s accuracy, intelligence and patience meant he was always a blessing to his captains.

He adapted to conditions overseas, especially in Australia, by dropping his pace, and might have added 50-100 wickets to his England haul of 297 but for joining World Series Cricket in 1977, then the disapproved tour of South Africa in 1981-82.

A game nightwatchman and a workmanlike outfielder, he was as unaffectedly pleasant at the end of his career as when, in 1963, he became the youngest bowler to take 100 wickets in his initial season.

In 2008, he was unveiled as the new President of MCC on a one-year term.