Zeroes and Heroes: Here's a look at when cricketers scored ducks

Apr 29, 2014, 08:45 IST | Kersi Meher-Homji

Gautam Gambhir endured his third IPL-7 duck in a row while, English club side Wirral had 10 batsmen with zero to their names. Sydney-based cricket writer Kersi Meher-Homji comes up with similar stories

Greg Chappell’s summer of 7 ducks
Duck fever is universal and hits you least expect it. Greg Chappell (former Australia captain and later India coach) had a massive dose of it in 1981-82 when he scored seven ducks in 15 internationals, including four ducks in a row.

Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell

It was all quite inexplicable because the Australian skipper had started the season confidently with a 162 (two sixes and 20 fours) in the opening match for Queensland against Pakistan followed by a brilliant 201 in the Brisbane Test (also off Imran and Sarfraz) the same month.

Hue and cry over Hughes
Australian captain Kim Hughes had a nightmarish summer in 1984-85. Against the all-conquering West Indies he led Australia to two shattering defeats: his personal contributions being 4 and 3, 34 and 4.

Kim Hughes
Kim Hughes

This led to his resignation after an emotional press conference. He played the next two Tests under Allan Border but his form further deteriorated, scoring a first-ball duck and 2 at Adelaide and a pair at Melbourne, dismissed first ball in the second innings.

Greg Chappell's duck spree
Cartoonist Shane Leahy's cartoons on Greg Chappell's duck spree

Duck to Swan!
During a Yorkshire Senior League match in 1981, two ducks bowled to two swans. The captain of New Earswick team, John Duck and his son Stephen, bowled to Colin Swan of Todcaster and his brother Ken.

Stacky’s sad
Keith Stackpole, the dashing Australian opening batsman had the despairing experience of making the dreaded pair in his Test swan song. In his final Test appearance at Auckland, against New Zealand in March 1974, Stackpole was dismissed off the first ball of the match. The irony of it was that it was a full toss from Richard Hadlee!

Miller was different
When Australia amassed 721 runs in a day against Essex in 1948, Keith Miller, ‘always the man for a crisis’, scored a zero – bowled first ball!

Oh brother!
July 19, 1990 was a day to forget for two pairs of brothers playing county cricket. Both Chris and Graham Cowdrey were dismissed by Curtly Ambrose for ducks when representing Kent v Northants at Northampton. Worse awaited Alan and Colin Wells the same day. For Sussex v Surrey at Guildford both collected first-ball ducks.

Lordly duck
The donor of Sheffield Shield, Lord Henry North Holroyd Sheffield, was noted more for his love of the game than his talent. He bagged a pair in the only important match he played, for the Gentleman of Sussex against the Gentlemen of Kent in 1856.

Record of ducks
Pakistan created a record of six ducks in an innings in a limited-over international. Against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham on 25 May 1987 they collapsed from 3 for 168 in the 44th over to 9 for 178 in the 48th. At one stage they lost five wickets for two runs in 18 balls, to zoom down from 3 for 168 to 8 for 170.

The zero heroes of the innings were opener Mudassar Nazar (out first ball from Greg Thomas), Number 3 bat Mansoor Akhtar (out fourth ball from Thomas) and Pakistan was two down without a run. But after a good recovery, Mansoor Elahi, Salim Yousuf, Wasim Akram and Tauseef Ahmed were dismissed for ducks, all four falling with the total unchanged at 170. Then a 35 run last-wicket stand enabled Pakistan to reach 213. England won in the last over by one wicket in an engrossing climax.

That’s better? No!
On 25 February 1993, Pakistan equaled their unenviable record of six ducks when bowled out for 43 – the lowest score in a limited over international – against West Indies in Cape Town. Before this, the record number of ducks in a limited over international innings was held by England (five). This was against the West Indies in the second World Cup Final on 23 June 1979.

Nothing to laugh at
Getting a duck in cricket is embarrassing enough. So imagine the plight of English cricketer David Pritchard, who was knocked out on the way to the wicket when the number ‘0’ blew off the scoreboard and hit him on the head.

Duck saves lives
So depressed was a Tasmanian, Mr Hancock, on hearing on radio about Bradman’s duck in the Melbourne Test of 1932-33 that he went for a walk on the beach to cool down. As he was walking in gloom, he heard screams from a few three-year-olds who were drowning. Hancock dived in his three-piece suit and rescued them.

Poor duck
Percy Fender hit a six and a duck off the same ball for MCC v Ballarat XI at Ballarat in 1921. His huge six cleared the Ebden Street fence of the Eastern Oval, landed in a fowlyard and killed a duck.

Rags-to-riches story
Hampshire was dismissed for 15 against Warwickshire at Birmingham in 1922; eight batsmen failing to score. Forced to follow-on, Hampshire amassed 521 and won by 155 runs.

Aussie duck parade
Twelve ducks ‘paraded’ in the match between New South Wales and Victoria at the MCG in 1856; NSW contributing 8 ducks to Victoria’s 4. In their return ‘grudge’ match in Sydney next season, the visitors recorded 9 ducks to NSW’s 4. Both matches were won by NSW.

6: The number of Pakistan players who had zero to their names in the Edgbaston ODI of 1987

Reproduced from Out for a Duck by Kersi Meher-Homji published by Kangaroo Press in 1993

Know your duck

Duck: When the batsman is dismissed without scoring
Golden Duck: When the batsman is dismissed first ball without scoring
Pair: When the batsman is dismissed without scoring in both innings of a match
King Pair: When the batsman is dismissed first ball without scoring in both innings of a match
Diamond Duck: When the batsmen is dismissed without scoring and without facing a ball

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