The man who delivered the infamous underarm ball says Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft will replace him as the biggest villains in Australian cricket history.

Trevor Chappell, who bowled an underarm delivery at the end of a 1981 ODI against New Zealand, said he has had to live with the notoriety of the moment in the 37 years since.

He told the Daily Telegraph that following the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa on Sunday, the current Aussie players will have to deal with the consequences for the rest of the lives.

"What I did has lived with me ever since and it will be the same for Smith and Bancroft," the 65-year-old told the Daily Telegraph.

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"They will struggle for the rest of their lives and be known as the ones who brought Australian cricket into disrepute," Chappell said.

Bancroft, alongside with captain Smith, admitted to ball-tampering on day three of the test after television cameras captured the Australian opener rubbing the match ball with yellow tape to make it sticky and pick up dirt.

Smith was banned for one test match by the ICC and fined 100 percent of his match. Bancroft was fined 75 percent of his match fee. Cricket Australia are to investigate the scandal which could see Smith, vice captain David Warner and Bancroft face further sanctions.

Chappell said the ball-tampering scandal and Australia admitting to cheating will replace the underarm delivery as the darkest cricketing moment for the country.

Trevor Chappell delivers the infamous underarm ball to New Zealand's Brian McKechnie in 1981.
Trevor Chappell delivers the infamous underarm ball to New Zealand's Brian McKechnie in 1981.

"I'm the last one who comes up on Google as the man who took the lead role in Australian cricket's darkest day — it's a real relief I can finally drop that title," Chappell told the Daily Telegraph.

"I thought it was a good idea to underarm bowl at the time but not these days.

"I struggled a lot with it mentally, I was vilified for years and people will still ask about it."

The 1981 incident occurred when Australia played New Zealand in an ODI at the MCG. New Zealand required six runs from the final ball to tie the match. Greg Chappell, the Australian captain, instructed his bowler (and younger brother), Trevor, to bowl the ball underarm and along the ground in order to prevent Brian McKechnie, the facing batsman, from getting under the delivery with sufficient power and elevation to hit the required six. Bowling underarm was within the laws of international cricket at the time but perceived as unsportsmanlike. It was subsequently banned.

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"I don't know if my brothers have done better in life than me after what happened, Greg copped it at the time, but the quiet life certainly chose me after that — my marriage broke down and I never remarried or had kids.

"These days all I do is coach cricket to kids and play golf," he said.