Home > Features > Moments in history >

Fox at Edgbaston and other animal invasions of 1982

A fox ran behind Derek Underwood's arm and proceeded to bound around the ground before disappearing into the crowd © Getty Images (Representational Photo as fox has been added)
A fox ran behind Derek Underwood’s arm and proceeded to bound around the ground before disappearing into the crowd © Getty Images (Representational Photo as the fox has been added)

June 6, 1982. A fox walked behind the arm of bowler Derek Underwood during a John Player League match, triggering a summer full of animal invasions. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the season that saw play being held up by all kinds of creatures.

That day Derek Underwood finished with incredible figures of 8-4-8-2, his scalps including the prize wicket of Alvin Kallicharran. The powerful Warwickshire batting line-up could manage only 164 in their 40 overs, and that too due to some advanced profligacy demonstrated by Graham Dilley. Underwood was virtually unplayable in the middle overs, choking the innings with relentless accuracy and guile. However, we must mention here that he did have some external help. During his impeccable spell, a fox ran behind his arm and proceeded to bound around the ground before disappearing into the crowd.

Wisden wondered whether it was a stray Leicestershire supporter. Indeed Leicestershire were playing Hampshire in Grace Road, just about 50 kilometres away, and of course the symbol of the County council as well as the County cricket club is a fox. But, given the history of the County and its association with the animal, it would be rather surprising if the creature indeed turned out to be a supporter of the side. The County is, after all, supposed to be the birthplace of the cruel sport of fox hunting. Hugo Meynell, a resident of Quorn, is generally considered the father of modern fox hunting — he became the Master of Fox Hounds for the Quorn Hunt in 1753, a role he performed for 47 years.

Maybe the fox had turned up to cheer Kent, the County which was progressing neck and neck with Leicestershire in the John Player League — which is supported by his characteristically sly act of distracting the Warwickshire batsman. It bore fruit as Kent triumphed by seven wickets. Whatever be the cricketing leanings of the excellent creature, Wisden claimed that the news of the pitch invasion proceeded to spread quickly around the animal kingdom.

On June 12, Surrey took on Gloucestershire at The Oval. As Monte Lynch took strike for the home side on the second day, a pigeon positioned itself extremely close to the wicket at short-leg, forcing the batsman to move away even as the bowler ran in. Poor Lynch could score only five after the disruption. However, in the long run it did not matter with the home side triumphing by five wickets.

The invasions continued till the end of the season. When Derbyshire played Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in late August, a rabbit scampered into the ground while home team captain Clive Rice was amassing an attractive 144. This wonderful animal was apprehended by the Derbyshire captain Barry Wood.

The visiting captain followed his excellent work on the field with a sterling innings with the bat, scoring an unbeaten century. The match was drawn.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 27, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014  at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes won by 86 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 54 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

Photos

Cobras vs Hurricanes Match 6 at Hyderabad

Videos

Daniel Flynn looks ahead to Hobart game

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Highlights

Live Cricket Score Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 9: Hurricanes register massive 86-run win

Australia on the verge of handing out 50 Test caps in a decade!

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 9: Preview

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014: Northern Knights likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins vs CSK Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014

Ben Laughlin’s terrific catch in Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 match

Ashley Giles and other players carry 24 spare balls to play T20 match at Mount Kilimanjaro summit

Alastair Cook can’t handle Kevin Pietersen, says Geoffrey Boycott

Ben Hilfenhaus, Aiden Blizzard star in massive 86-run win for Hobart Hurricanes against Northern Knights in CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Knights lose their sixth wicket

Cheteshwar Pujara and other batsmen given out handling the ball

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur: Highlights

Cricket in Canada: Coach Mukesh Narula travels around the vast nation to train players

Australia on the verge of handing out 50 Test caps in a decade!

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9, CLT20 2014: Key Clashes

Fan of the Day

Edward Knowles

Edward Knowles

447 Posts | 1 Fans

Video: Brendon McCullum's amazing fielding in CSK vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 match

9 Most Anticipated Fall TV Shows Have Begun with a Special Halloween ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Episode

इन खाद्द पदार्थों के द्वारा किडनी को स्वस्थ रखें

Here’s why the Bigg Boss 8 Secret Society is a big flop!

Updated Retina iPad mini and 12.9-inch iPad Pro delayed till 2015: Report

6 Smoothies that Pack a Punch

Xiaomi offering free micro-SIM card trays to Mi 3 owners

Scared you’ll lose your job? It might be the reason for your frequent asthma attacks

Bigg Boss 8: Sushant Divgikar hopes to sensitise TV viewers to LGBT cause via Salman Khan’s show

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here