Trevor was the youngest of the Chappell cricketing brothers. He played for New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield. He played 2 Test matches on the 1981 Ashes tour and played 20 one day internationals including the 1983 World Cup in England.
He unwittingly and reluctantly became famous after bowling an underarm delivery when playing for Australia during a match against New Zealand in 1981, an incident still often described as the lowest point in the history of cricket. The teams were contesting the final of the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup. With only one ball left to be bowled, New Zealand needed to score six runs to tie the match. This would require the batsman to hit the ball over the boundary on the full. Following the advice of his brother Greg Chappell who was the Australian captain, Trevor rolled the ball along the ground to batsman Brian McKechnie (who was also an All Black).
Although it was not illegal to bowl underarm at the time, it was widely accepted that it was tantamount to cheating. McKechnie could do little but block the ball to avoid being dismissed, and Australia won the game. It was described as "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket" by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rob Muldoon. Underarm bowling is no longer permitted.