Cricket

Derek Underwood, Former England And Kent Spinner, Dies Aged 78

Derek Underwood, affectionately known as ‘Deadly’, claimed 297 wickets in 86 Test appearances for England with his brisk left-arm spin, as well as another 32 in ODIs

Derek Underwood in his playing days. Photo: PA Archive
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Derek Underwood, the most prolific spin bowler in England’s Test history, has died at the age of 78, his former county Kent have announced. (More Cricket News)

Underwood, affectionately known as ‘Deadly’, claimed 297 scalps in 86 Test appearances for his country with his brisk left-arm spin, as well as another 32 in ODIs.

Known as a master of uncovered pitches, he first played for his country as a 21-year-old in 1966 and made his final appearance in 1982.

His record tally would have been even higher had it not been for his decision to play in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket and the first rebel tour of South Africa, but he still sits 42 wickets ahead of his nearest rival among spinners, Graeme Swann.

Kent chair Simon Phillip said in a statement: “The Kent Cricket family is in mourning following the passing of one of its greatest ever players.

“Derek was an outstanding contributor to both Kent and England, winning trophies for club and country and etching his name in the history books forevermore.

“Watching Derek weave his unique magic on a wet wicket was a privilege for all who were able to witness it. His induction into the ICC Hall of Fame shows the esteem in which he was held in world cricket.

“An advocate for growing our game worldwide whilst protecting our sport’s rich heritage, Derek also made substantial contributions off the field as well as on it, and he will be sorely missed by everyone at Kent Cricket.”

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