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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Century for Ahmed Shehzad

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Former Jamaican Prime Minister describes West Indies pull-out as humiliating

Ahmed Shehzad hits 2nd Test ton as Pakistan surge ahead against Australia in 1st Test

Shakib Al Hasan takes 6-wicket haul on return to Test cricket

Zimbabwe bowled out for 240 by Bangladesh on opening day of 1st Test

India vs Sri Lanka 2014 schedule announced: Cuttack to host 1st ODI

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here