Derek Underwood, former England and Kent spinner, dies aged 78

With 297 Test wickets, Underwood is England men's leading spinner while he claimed 2,465 in all first-class cricket


Derek Underwood, England men's most successful spinner, has died aged 78.

The Kent left-armer took 297 wickets in 86 Tests between 1966 and 1982.

Underwood enjoyed an enormously success career, taking a mammoth 2,465 wickets in 676 first-class matches.

Capped 26 times in one-day internationals, he claimed 32 scalps, but it was with the red ball that he made his name.


Underwood's finest hour at The Oval (Central Press/Getty Images)

He struck up a formidable partnership with wicketkeeper Alan Knott which started in school cricket and graduated into the county and international game, where they combined for 27 dismissals.

Among his personal achievements were four years atop the ICC's No.1 bowling rankings, reaching 100 wickets in a single season on 10 occasions and inspiring England to victory in the 1968 Ashes Oval Test against Australia.

Archive: How an obsession with Derek Underwood led to a web of lies

He also scooped three County Championships, two One-Day Cups, three National Leagues and three Benson & Hedges Cups for Kent prior to his retirement in 1987.

More recently, he served as Kent president in 2006, MCC president in 2008 and was inducted into the ICC's Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.


Underwood celebrates against India in 1981 (Adrian Murrell/Allsport)

"It is always a sad day when a great of the English game passes away," said ECB chair Richard Thompson. "Derek Underwood will be remembered as one of the finest spin bowlers this country has ever produced, and his remarkable record is testament to his enduring skill.

"To this day, there will still be the odd mention of Derek Underwood when conditions – especially in club cricket – become damp and perhaps suited to some accurate and pacey spin, and there’s no greater legacy than remaining part of the game long after you've finished playing. Our thoughts are with Derek’s friends and family, everyone at Kent CCC, and everyone who knew and loved him."

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