Derek Underwood April 13, 2013

'Ray tries to forget he was my first wicket'

Interview by Jack Wilson
Deadly Derek looks back on his first five-for and his only century

First time I was in awe of someone in a dressing room
When I first came into the Kent side, I was a teenager. I hadn't watched a lot of cricket, because at that age I was always playing - but I was totally in awe of Colin Cowdrey. I was in school and I had hardly seen Kent play before, but I knew he was a great player. It was an honour to play with him.

First first-class wicket
It would have been 1963. I was 17, and it wasn't a bad one actually, it was Ray Illingworth. I had him caught at cover by David Baker, who we used to call Doughie. I remember the wicket well, although I know Ray tries to forget it! We share the same birthday too, Ray and I.

First Test five-wicket haul
It was a special moment. In my first Test we were playing West Indies. I bowled quite a few overs without getting a wicket. My first wicket was Rohan Kanhai, in the second Test against them, and my first five-wicket haul came against Pakistan in my third Test. It was 1967 at Trent Bridge, and it was a wet wicket. The rain had got on the pitch and the whole ground was flooded. They were certainly bowler-friendly conditions.

First experience of World Series Cricket
I'd spent time watching and playing against the best - then I was playing in a World XI side. It was a great cricketing experience. It was obviously in a bit of a cloud, the whole World Series, but it was incredible to play in. It was a chance to play with people like Barry Richards and Zaheer Abbas. Watching Sir Viv [Richards] was magnificent too.

First century
Well, I actually only got one! It was towards the end of my career and I think it was at Hastings. I went in as a nightwatchman but I went on and on, and yes, it was a good day. It's just a shame I only got the one.

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