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Gautam Gambhir and other duck tales: Part I — famous streaks

Sachin Tendulkar (left) holds the record of most ducks by an Indian in ODIs, Greg Chappell (centre) had a torrid time with seven ducks in a row while Marvan Atapattu started his career with two ducks  © Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar (left) holds the record of most ducks by an Indian in ODIs, Greg Chappell (centre) had a torrid time with seven ducks in a season while Marvan Atapattu started his career with three ducks © Getty Images

Gautam Gambhir’s three ducks in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) has led to lot of criticism (and smart comments) on social media. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at a few other tales regarding ducks.

Gautam Gambhir has taken a lot of flak due to his horrid run in IPL 2014. They say that the strength of a side lies in its captain, and Gambhir has certainly not made a display for his side to draw inspiration from.

Ducks have always formed an amusing part of the history of the sport (the most famous of which, as we know, had taken place at The Oval in 1948, thanks to Eric Hollies). Streaks of ducks, however heartbreaking for the poor batsmen, have led to hilarity among the audience.

Sachin Tendulkar

The name will probably raise a few eyebrows. In fact, I can see quite a few inquisitive faces: what is he doing on this list? Tendulkar had started his One-Day international (ODI) career with two two-ball ducks; about five years later he went into another run, scoring three ducks in a row from ten balls, leading to critics questioning his talent. They were, as is needless to mention, quite disappointed.

Greg Chappell

Tendulkar is not the only legend on the list. After scoring a regal 201 against Pakistan at The Gabba, Greg Chappell had scored four ducks in a row (including two consecutive golden ducks). He scored three more ducks that season, extending his tally to seven.

Australian spectators are never short on humour: in a Benson & Hedges World Series match against Pakistan that season a spectator actually smuggled a live duck inside MCG and let it loose the moment Chappell arrived. Chappell scored 35 in that innings.

Mark Waugh

Waugh Junior had also been accused of the same: he had a terrible tour of Sri Lanka in 1992, scoring back-to-back pairs at Premadasa and Moratuwa. He had faced 12 balls in all. He returned to form in emphatic style later that year in style with an emphatic 112 against West Indies at MCG.

Pankaj Roy

There have been ten cricketers with five or more ducks in a Test series (Alan Hurst had six), but Roy and Amarnath were the only specialist batsmen among them. Roy was all at sea against Fred Trueman in 1952, scoring 19, 0, 35, 0, 0, 0, 0; the previous season he had scored two hundreds against the same team at home, including 111 at Madras in India’s first ever Test win.

Mohinder Amarnath

Amarnath’s case was one of its kind. He had already been marked out as the greatest Indian batsman against fast bowling, having scored a thousand Test runs by May (still a world record for any calendar year); he had also won the Man of the Match in the World Cup semifinal and final that India won.

Back home against West Indies, Amarnath’s form deserted him completely as he scored 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0 in the six innings he played in that series. He was never the same batsman again, falling thrice to Malcolm Marhsall.

Marvan Atapattu

Graham Gooch and Saeed Anwar had both started with pairs, but Atapattu had taken things to a different plane altogether. He had scored ducks in his first three Test innings, but broke the jinx by scoring a run in the next. Perhaps infuriated at missing out on a duck, he came back with a vengeance at Motera in 1993-94, scoring another pair. The selectors, however, backed him, and he turned out to be one of the finest Sri Lankan openers.

Ajit Agarkar

When one mentions streaks of ducks, Agarkar’s is possibly the first name that comes to mind. Agarkar was dismissed for 19 in the first innings at Adelaide Oval in 1999-2000, but scored golden ducks in the second innings, in both innings at MCG, and in the first innings at SCG, which meant that he was dismissed five times in five balls. He did slightly better in his next outing, surviving the first ball at the second innings at SCG, but was dismissed the next ball.

He got off the mark the next Test, but Australia kept on hounding him. In his next Test against Australia, at Wankhede in 2000-01, Agarkar scored a pair once again (though this time he managed to face 27 balls).

Bob Crisp

Crisp was not that poor a batsman; in fact, after his first seven Tests he averaged a decent 15.37. The problem started after that: clueless against the wiles of Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O’Reilly, Crisp scored two pairs in the next two Tests (a king pair in the final one). He never played another Test, and finished with four ducks in his last four innings.

Commandur Rangachari

Rangachari had played four Tests, all in 1948. He had scored eight runs from six innings, but the remarkable fact about these innings is that all his runs had come off the last of them. His first five innings read 0*, 0, 0, 0*, 0 — which earned him the dubious records of maximum innings from debut without scoring a run.

Gogumal Kishenchand

Hailed as a child prodigy, Kishenchand averaged 47.91 in First-Class cricket, but his Test record of 89 runs at 8.90 from five Tests was abysmal. The striking feature of his career was the fact that he had scored five ducks, each of which came in a different Test. Kishenchand holds the record of playing the most Tests with a duck in every Test.

Ryan Harris

Harris scored a king-pair in the 2010-11 Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval, but that was not all that rare. What stood out was the fashion in which he got out. Graeme Swann’s flighted delivery struck him on the back pad as the umpire ruled him out; Harris asked for a review, but the decision was upheld.

In the second innings he was rapped on the front pad by a James Anderson in-swinger. Once again there was an appeal, once again the umpire obligated, once again Harris reviewed, and once again the decision did not change. As a result Harris was given out four times in two balls.

Mark Robinson

Robinson went on to play for Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, and Sussex, along with Canterbury. Never known for his batting (he averaged 4.01 with the bat at First-Class level), Richardson had scored 590 runs from 259 innings with 41 ducks.

His non-batsmanship reached its peak in 1989 and 1990; he had a run of 1, 0, 0*, 0, 0*, 0, before surprising everyone with a crucial two against Essex at Northampton. Things were restored to normal when he continued with 0, 1*, 0*, 1 — a run that spilled into the next season — before reaching his famous streak. For a period spanning close to four months Robinson scored 0, 0*, 0*, 0*, 0*, 0*, 0, 0, 0, 0*, 0*, 0, which meant that he had passed a phase of 12 innings without scoring a run.

Seymour Clark

Seymour Clark was a wicket-keeper who played five matches for Somerset in 1930. He finished with eight catches, but more remarkably, his batting career read 0, 0, 0, 0, 0*, 0*, 0, 0, 0. Clark still holds the record of playing the most First-Class innings without scoring a run.

READ Part II of the special series on Ducks here

READ Part III of the special series on Ducks here

READ Part IV of the special series on Ducks here

READ Part V of the special series on Ducks here

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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