Trivia - batting November 9, 2007

Of ducks and drakes

Ah, The Duck – nothing troubles the scorers more, despite what any commentator may tell you

Ah, The Duck – nothing troubles the scorers more, despite what any commentator may tell you. Especially if it is a quick one and you are still entering all the details of the previous wicket. A duck is almost as much of a symbol of non-batsmanship as scoring a century is of batting ability.

In 1996, Danny Morrison passed the record for most ducks in Test cricket amid a blaze of publicity and memorabilia. Bhagwat Chandrasekhar had held the record with 23 at that stage. Morrison subsequently passed the baton (if you will excuse the truly abysmal pun) to Courtney Walsh, who still holds the record with 43. Muttiah Murailtharan has been dismissed first ball for a duck on no fewer than 14 occasions in Test cricket.

But, what about ducks in first-class cricket? Reg Perks, of Worcestershire and England (twice, in 1939), collected 156 ducks in his first-class career, which is a record. Perks was not the world’s worst batsman: he scored 8956 runs, including 14 fifties, at an average of 12.20 in 595 first-class matches.

But a major candidate for champion duck maker in first-class cricket is Kevin Jarvis of Kent and Gloucestershire. Jarvis is the only batsman with over 100 dismissals in first-class cricket to have ducks as more than 50% of his dismissals. In his 199 first-class innings he was not out 87 times and made 59 ducks, which represents 52.69% of the total innings in which he was dismissed. In all, Jarvis scored 403 runs at an average of 3.59. He did, of course, make up for this by taking 674 wickets. He reached 20 for the first, and only, time in his 255th first-class match (Gloucestershire v Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1989) and played only 5 more matches before retiring.

And what of Seymour Clark? He played 5 first-class matches for Somerset (all in 1930) and in 9 innings (two of which were not outs) he did not score a run. He did not take a wicket either. He was a wicketkeeper and presumably must have been a very good one just to get a game.

Then there is the 1, the much-neglected score. If a century is a mark of batting excellence and a duck is a mark of batting ineptitude, then a 1 must be the non-batsman’s equivalent of 99. I briefly considered nominating the word ‘drake’ for ones to go with ducks for noughts. But it would probably be considered inappropriate, in these egalitarian times, for the male of the species to represent a higher value than the female.

The most dismissals for 1 in Test cricket is 12 by Javagal Srinath and Glenn McGrath.

Three players have been dismissed for 1 eleven times in Tests: Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and, surprisingly, Rod Marsh. And Adam Sanford was an impressive 1-maker. He was dismissed eight times for 1 out of his 15 Test dismissals (53.33%), including each of his last 4 innings. Then there’s Walter Reader-Blackton. In addition to having a name that was almost as long as his first-class career (8 matches for Derbyshire between 1914 and 1921), he was also the first player to be dismissed for 1 in five consecutive first-class innings.

And another world record for Shane Warne. He has been dismissed for 2 more often than anyone else in Test cricket – 11 times.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    Who made the slowest 50's against us since readm? Seem to recall another slow Englishman except Jack Russell

  • testli5504537 on December 18, 2007, 22:15 GMT

    Answering my own question (which moderators hopefully post) about not looking at absolute # of ducks but in terms of zeroes/inning played, Walsh and Murali are pretty low on the list ..#15 or so..with 20%. NZ's Chris Martin has the ignominy of being the record holder with a 0 in a record 42% of innings he played. (Total of 20 0s in 48 innings!) Merv Dillon (38%), Dan Morrison (34%), Kaneria (33%), Chandrasekhar (29%), Devon Malcom (28%) come next. Amongst current players Zaheer Khan is high up there with 25% (along with Mcgrath, Garner, and Tufnell also at ~ 25%) and Harmison close behind with 24%.

  • testli5504537 on November 13, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    What about the Bombay Duck aka Ajit Agarkar? I thought he might also be somewhere in the list. He also has the weird combination of fastest 50 by an indian, a hundred at Lord's to add to a bucketload of ducks.

  • testli5504537 on November 13, 2007, 5:43 GMT

    Ah finally...someone considers the not so talented people in cricket but who still manage to make the a whole lot of fun !

  • testli5504537 on November 13, 2007, 4:30 GMT

    Yet another stats page for insatiable cricket-mad people. The proposed term "drake"should be for a single scoring stroke (whether a proper cricketing stroke or an unintended edge) rather than a score of 1. A single hit and then out. That may be a difficult statistic to pull out - but IMHO a proper way to assess batting skills.

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2007, 21:00 GMT

    Look up a guy named Peter Visser who played for Central Districts (NZ) and finished with an average of 0.91 after 19 matches. His career scores were 0, 0, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0 not out, 0, 0 not out, 0 not out, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0 not out, 2 and 0 not out. 14 scoreless innings, 8 of them out, from 17 innings. Not bad.

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2007, 1:46 GMT

    Chris Martin, if given enough innings, will become the worst batsman ever. His average is hovering at 2.06. If you ever need to call him just dial 0800 00 00 00.

  • testli5504537 on November 11, 2007, 5:22 GMT

    Srini, I think Marvan Atapattu might just top your list. 22 ducks in 154 innings, including 4 pairs. And yet he's scored six double-centuries! Steve Waugh also has 22 ducks, but from a lot more innings.

  • testli5504537 on November 11, 2007, 0:08 GMT

    I would expect that Marvan Atapattu would be pretty high up the list for ducks by a serious batsman. In fact, he was probably a fair way up that list after three Tests.

  • testli5504537 on November 10, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    Courtney Walsh wasn't actually that bad a tail-ender - his number of ducks is more a reflection of a very long career. In first class cricket he scored 8 fifties and over 4500 runs at an average of over 11. There are very many worse records than that.

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