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Which end of the bat do I hold?

Batsmen who went through spells of wretched form

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell bats in the first Test, Australia v England, Perth, November 1982

Greg Chappell: in 1981-82, he made guest appearances on the pitch  •  Adrian Murrell  /  Getty Images

Mark Waugh
One of the most graceful of batsmen, Waugh often made it look easy, starting with a fine century on debut for Australia against England in 1990-91. But a couple of years later, in Sri Lanka, he ran into trouble, bagging successive pairs in Colombo and Moratuwa. Four ducks in a row earned him the temporary nickname "Audi", after the car-maker's four-circle logo. Waugh's team-mates generously pointed out that if there had been another Test he had a chance to be renamed "Olympic".
Mohinder Amarnath
Few Test batsmen have experienced a year quite like Amarnath did in 1983. After warming up with a couple of centuries against Pakistan, he enjoyed a fabulous tour of the West Indies, scoring 598 runs - including two more hundreds - in the Tests. Not long afterwards he was Man of the Match when India won the World Cup final. And then the wheels fell off: against the same bowlers he'd caned in the Caribbean, Amarnath stumbled at home, collecting just a single run in six innings, and the temporary moniker "Mr Amarnought".
Greg Chappell
Chappell, another stylish Aussie, averaged nearly 54 in Tests - but it might have been even higher than that, were it not for a horror trot at home in 1981-82, when he bagged seven ducks in all internationals, including four in a row at one stage. He also acquired a new temporary nickname: Chappello.
Ken Rutherford
It was Rutherford's misfortune to make his Test debut in the Caribbean in 1984-85, against the fearsome West Indian bowling attack of the time. Just to make it worse, Rutherford - who spent most of the rest of his 56-Test career in the middle order - was asked to open. His debut couldn't have gone much worse: out to Malcolm Marshall for a duck, then run out without even facing in the second innings. The rest of the series wasn't much better, bringing scores of 4, 0, 2, 1 and 5.
Seymour Clark
Clark was a railwayman called up by Somerset in 1930, when their regular wicketkeeper was ill. Though a fine keeper, his batting was, to say the least, underwhelming. He had nine innings in his five first-class matches, and failed to score a run in any of them (he did manage to remain not out twice). Peter Smith of Essex apparently tried to feed Clark a run so he could get off the mark: the inviting delivery bounced twice and then bowled him. Wisden remembered that "Clark thought his highest score in club cricket was three, and two of them came from overthrows". Somerset still offered him a contract, but Clark thought he'd be better advised to go back on the railways.
Pankaj Roy
The well-rounded figure of Roy was a fixture at the top of India's batting order in the 1950s. He made 173 - the highest of his five Test centuries - during a record opening partnership of 413 with Vinoo Mankad against New Zealand in 1955-56. But Roy was vulnerable to extreme pace (his ever-present glasses probably didn't help), and in England in 1952, when the young Fred Trueman was unleashed for the first time, Roy's seven innings included five ducks, four of them in successive innings. He wasn't alone in struggling against Fiery Fred and friends: at Headingley India slumped to 0 for 4 - still a unique scoreline in Tests - while at The Oval they were 6 for 5 at one stage.
Marvan Atapattu
The Sri Lanka batsman made a terrible start in Tests: his first three matches, scattered between 1990 and 1994, produced innings of 0 and 0, 0 and 1, and 0 and 0. It could have been even worse: it's said the one run he did score was actually a leg-bye that wasn't signalled. But to the credit of Atapattu - and the selectors - he recovered and built a fine career, finishing with 5502 runs and 16 centuries in 90 Tests.
Bobby Peel
The Yorkshire slow left-armer Peel was a good enough batsman to score seven first-class centuries - one of them a double - but he was also bad enough to become the first man to collect consecutive pairs in Tests, in Adelaide and Sydney early in 1894-95, contriving to be stumped in each innings at the SCG. Peel rounded off his 20-Test career with another pair of spectacles, at The Oval in 1896.
Ajit Agarkar
Scoring a Test century at Lord's, as he did in 2002, should have ensured Agarkar a degree of immortality: after all, Sachin Tendulkar* isn't on the honours board there. But mention Agarkar's batting to most people and you'll get the same response... five ducks in a row. That was in Australia in 1999-2000: the first four were first-ballers, including a pair in Melbourne. In the second innings in Sydney, Agarkar earned a big round of applause for surviving his first delivery, from Glenn McGrath, only to nick the next one through to Adam Gilchrist to complete a run of six dismissals (including the one before the first duck) in seven balls.
Shadab Kabir
The Karachi left-hander Kabir had a unique one-day international record for a batsman: three matches, three innings, three ducks. Remarkably, though, he did win a Man-of-the-Match award - after Kabir's debut, against England at Trent Bridge in 1996, the adjudicator, unusually, gave the award to the entire Pakistan side, after what he thought was a fine team effort.
Tommy Ward
The one-time South Africa wicketkeeper Ward is the only man known to have bagged a king pair (out first ball in both innings) on his Test debut, against Australia at Old Trafford during the Triangular Tournament of 1912. More than that, though, he managed to round off a hat-trick each time, lbw in the first innings and caught and bowled in the second as the legspinner Jimmy Matthews became the only man to take two in the same Test. Ward didn't get a run in his second match, either (he was not out in the second innings), but things did get a little better: he finished his 23-Test career with a couple of fifties.
*06:11:50 GMT, 29 May 2012: Originally said Sunil Gavaskar is not on the Lord's honours board as well. Gavaskar features for his hundred for the Rest of the World in 1987

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.