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HomeCricketAtherton, Boycott and others pay tribute to late England spinner Derek Underwood

Atherton, Boycott and others pay tribute to late England spinner Derek Underwood


Michael Atherton, Geoffrey Boycott and others paid tribute to former England left-arm spinner Derek Underwood, who passed away at the age of 78.

Underwood, took 297 wickets in 86 Tests with his distinctive brand of brisk left-arm spin and is the most successful English spinner in the longest format.

“Very saddened to hear of Derek Underwood’s passing – a superb spin and cut bowler and an unassuming England and Kent legend. I once faced him on a ‘turner’ at Folkestone and there was only one Deadly Derek and it wasn’t me. RIP,” said Derek Pringle, member of the England sides that finished runner-up at the 1987 and 1992 ODI World Cups.

READ | England spin great Derek Underwood dies aged 78

Comparing Underwood’s style to India’s Bishan Singh Bedi, another legendary left-arm spinner who passed away last year, former England captain Michael Atherton wrote in The Times– “He relied not on flight or guile, but on accuracy and a devilishly quick pace — the polar opposite of, say, Bishan Singh Bedi, the great Indian spinner, who was an exact contemporary and who died six months ago. Whereas Bedi might lure batsmen into indiscretions by deceiving them in the air, Underwood came in off a long run and bowled at almost medium pace, driving the ball into the surface.”

Boycott, former England batter and Underwood’s teammate, described the latter’s approach to bowling in a Test match. “Derek loved bowling with four people around the bat – just like a spider weaving its web to catch a fly. And he did not want you to escape to the other end to get a single. If you were a fielder and not on your toes, maybe nodding off a bit and you allowed the batsman to sneak a quick single, he would glare at you. He would never say anything but you could tell that he was cross,” wrote Boycott in The Telegraph.

Underwood was nicknamed ‘Deadly’ for his prowess in bowling on uncovered pitches. “On true surfaces you wondered where the next run was coming from when facing Underwood; on drying pitches in the age of uncovered wickets, you knew your days were numbered. Down fizzed the ball, which might bounce and turn and it was only a matter of time before the inevitable,” wrote Victor Marks, former England off-spinner, in The Guardian.



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