It is said that cricket is a batsman’s game. However, sometimes this statement is a misnomer because batsmen can also fail on a given day, when the bowlers are fired up or if conditions favour them. Consequently, batsmen could be dismissed without scoring a run. Over the years, there have been such players who have embarrassingly registered a huge number of zeroes in their run tallies. Here are some of them –
1) Courtney Walsh (West Indies) – 43 Ducks
The fiery Caribbean pace bowler was born in Jamaica on October 30, 1962. He was one of the few bowlers in the history of cricket to have bowled at a fast pace consistently throughout his career and that got him a once-world record 519 Test wickets and was the last of the great West Indies pace battery in the 80s and 90s.
Courtney Walsh though still holds a world record which he should not be proud of, although he was mainly a fast bowler.
He has the maximum number of zeroes by any batsman in Test cricket. His average is a poor 7.54 which is obvious since he has not even scored 1000 runs in a span of 132 Tests. Which is why it is still so vividly sketched in the minds of West Indies fans that he survived five balls to allow Brian Lara to hit the winning runs in a Test match at Barbados against Australia in 1999, which the Windies won by 1 wicket.
2) Glenn McGrath (Australia) – 35 Ducks
One of the greatest quickies to have graced the cricket field, the lanky man from New South Wales focused so much on his bowling that his batting suffered drastically and he often was made to laugh in the end about how incompetent he was with the bat.
35 ducks in 138 innings makes McGrath second in this list with a highest score of 61, against New Zealand at Brisbane in 2004 being the only Test fifty of his career.
However, not many bothered about this as Australia’s batting was perhaps the most strongest, alongside India’s in the 2000s and all McGrath had to do was win Australia matches with the ball and that is seen with his 563 Test wickets and 381 ODI wickets.
3) Shane Warne (Australia) – 34 Ducks
McGrath’s partner in crime, Shane Warne comes third in this list.
Shane Warne may be considered as an effective No.8 or No.9 Test batter for Australia but he was not that skilled enough to bat well and as a result has been out on the dreaded zero 34 times out of 199 times that he has batted in Test cricket.
He has another batting record, which is being the highest run-getter in Tests without a hundred.
So it comes as a surprise that the now 42-year old Victorian makes this list. Yet, Warne and McGrath were responsible to spearhead Australia’s bowling attack and win them Tests, which they did in fine fashion in the last decade till they fittingly retired together from international cricket in January 2007, following a 5-0 whitewash in the Ashes at home.
4) Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) – 33 Ducks
When the name Shane Warne is mentioned, Muttiah Muralitharan is also spoken about. In this list as well, it is no different with Murali being the fourth highest duck-getter in the history of Test cricket.
Although he is no mut with the bat and always smiles as he walks out to bat, even he knows that he can easily be dismissed for zero and 33 times is worth looking at out of 164 innings.
He too has scored one half-century which was a gritty 67 against India at his home ground in Kandy in 2001, which unfortunately went in a losing cause.
But he always gave joy to his fans whether he was batting or bowling, and that is what cricketers are eventually remembered for.
The game has certainly become poorer without the man from Kandy, and hopefully fans should continue to watch him play in the IPL.
5) Chris Martin (New Zealand) – 32 Ducks
The 37-year old Kiwi pacer was born in Christchurch and is humorously called as ‘The Phantom’. And that is primarily because of his inability to bat even a bit. Some rate him even worse than Courtney Walsh and tip him to break the record for the most number of ducks by the time he retires. After all, for him 11 ducks is not much to achieve, isn’t it?
There is every reason to look down at his batting. He has the poorest average any Test batter can have which is a meager 2.38 and has only scored 112 runs in 94 innings. He is the only man in this list to currently be playing cricket but he is aging and it would not be long before he hangs up his boots but people would be waiting for him to achieve a not-so proud world record in the near future!
In terms of pure batsmen, Australia’s legend and former captain Steve Waugh holds the record of 22 ducks. But this list goes to show how important it has become for bowlers to bat these days as 4 out of the 5 players have retired from the game already. Even though the standard of bowling has reduced considerably, it is the opportunity cost that fans have to bear by seeing an improvement in batting levels and less number of ducks by even the No.11 of the team.