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An Indian making the most of life in sports-crazed Melbourne

Far Pavilions

The underarm problem

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Australia and New Zealand tend to think that their rivalry, at least in sports, is quite similar to that between India and Pakistan. I am not convinced it has the intense love-hate relationship that India and Pakistan share, but an event that caused a severe strain on the trans-Tasman relationship is the well-known underarm bowling incident.

For those not in the know, here’s the story. In the 1980-1981 World Series cup, New Zealand needed six runs off the last delivery to tie the third one-day match final against Australia. The Australian captain, Greg Chappell, instructed his brother, Trevor, to bowl underarm to the batsman and squash any chance of a New Zealand stealing the glory. Trevor bowled to the plan, with the batsman defending the rolling delivery. The bitterness that ensued was unprecedented. Even Robert Muldoon, the then prime minister of New Zealand, had acrimonious words to say, and it would be years before Greg Chapell would be forgiven.

But, more than 2 decades later, it appears the incident is still fresh in the Kiwi memory.

Sometime last year, an Australian executive travelled to New Zealand and was welcomed with the slightly unexpected gift of a deodorant. Imagine his consternation when he saw the inscription on the card:

"For help with the Australian underarm problem."


The Aussie-Kiwi rivalry includes every known game that both countries compete in.

Nothing articulates the Kiwi depth of feeling more than a slogan I saw on a T Shirt being sold at Auckland airport which said

'In rugby, I support NZ or any team playing Australia.'

This does not however stop Kiwis from migrating in large numbers to Oz.

The cheeky NZ attitude to this is 'It raises the mean IQ of both countries!'

as a die hard aussie fan i'd like to refrain from commenting... *winks*
After reading this all of my single vote is for Greg Chappel to be India's coach so we need not see again the likes of Javed Miandad's last ball six and Inzy's last ball victory runs.

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