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Which batsmen have scored the most ducks in Test cricket?

West Indies legend Courtney Walsh holds the record for scoring the most ducks in Test cricket history after getting out without scoring 43 times over his Test career!

It goes without saying that any player who walks down to the crease with the bat absolutely hates the idea of getting out without scoring a single run. The entire purpose of batting, especially at the highest level of international cricket, is to contribute with runs that might give the team an upper hand.

However, as is quite evident, bowlers especially fast bowlers do not have particularly sharp batting skills. That makes obvious sense given that their primary role in a Test match involves taking wickets with the ball and not letting the opposition batsmen score.

Most of the names that are present on the list of the players with the most ducks in Test cricket are actually bowlers who have had a legendary career in the sport for reasons other than batting. For instance, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, James Anderson, Glenn McGrath, Stuart Broad, and Courtney Walsh are all also included in the list of the 10 highest wicket-takers in the purest format of the game.

As a result, any deficiencies they might have, including being scared of facing the short ball against opposition pacers are all easily forgiven and in fact, are looked at in a manner of zest. Without further ado, let’s get started with the list.

Most ducks in Test: Top 10 list

PlayerNationCareer SpanTest matchesInningsDucksRuns scoredHighest Score100s50s
Courtney WalshWest Indies1984-20011321854393630*00
Stuart BroadEngland2007- present156228393473169113
Chris MartinNew Zealand2000-2013711043612312*00
Glenn McGrathAustralia1993-2007124138356416101
Ishant SharmaIndia2007-2021105142347855701
Shane WarneAustralia1992-200714519934315499012
Muttiah MuralitharanSri Lanka1992-20101331643312616701
James AndersonEngland2003 – present1722423012848101
Zaheer KhanIndia2000-2014921272912317503
Mervyn DillonWest Indies1997-20043868265494300

Courtney Walsh | West Indies – 43 ducks

West Indies legend and regarded as one of the most devastating bowlers in the world during his glittering international career, Courtney Walsh unfortunately finds himself leading the list of what is one of the most ignominious batting records of all time.

He was dismissed on a duck 43 times across his career in Test cricket comprising 132 matches, and it stands as a world record to this day. Despite his feared reputation while bowling, it’s quite certain that Walsh’s record of ducks caused him to be the centre of a few jokes in the West Indies camp during his time.

Walsh’s highest score in Test cricket was 30* which goes to suggest that he didn’t particularly excel at batting. However, he did take 519 wickets over his career and was one of the best bowlers of his generation.

Stuart Broad | England – 39 ducks

Despite finding himself in second position with 39 ducks in test cricket, Stuart Broad is probably the most skilled batsman in the entire list. He is the only cricketer on this list to have scored a century when he amassed 169 runs in the first innings of the fourth Test against Pakistan at the Lord’s in 2010. To add to his achievements with the bat, Broad is also the sixth highest wicket-taker in Tests with 552 wickets.

However, despite his best efforts and a more than decent average for a bowler of 18.37, he does find himself getting out without getting off the mark quite often. Broad continues to play Test cricket and one would even argue that he has enough time left to get past Walsh’s record even though he may not want that to happen!

Chris Martin | New Zealand – 36 ducks

In his 13-year Test career, where he appeared in 71 matches for New Zealand, Chris Martin didn’t exactly draw headlines with the bat. After all, an average of 2.36 and a highest score of 12 not out suggests that he was out of his comfort zone whenever he was asked to put on the pad and the helmet and sent out to bat.

Unsurprisingly, he is third on the list of players with the most ducks in Test cricket after being bowled without scoring 36 times.

Glenn McGrath | Australia – 35 ducks

One of the greatest fast bowlers to have ever graced the sport, McGrath played Test cricket for 14 years between 1993 and 2007. During that period, he was arguably the defining pace bowler of his generation and a man who had every skill in the locker room.

He is the fifth highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket with 563 scalps and although he may have been an expert at getting opposition batsmen out for ducks, he did record 35 ducks himself which makes him fourth-highest on this particular list.

Ishant Sharma | India – 34 ducks

Although he officially hasn’t bid farewell to Test cricket yet, Ishant Sharma hasn’t played a match for India since 2021. At 33, it seems that his best years are behind him and with India witnessing the emergence of an exciting crop of young fast bowlers who can toil hard, Ishant might have played his final Test.

However, it can take nothing away from his wonderful career where he scalped over 300 wickets for Team India and was a captain and coach’s dream to regularly send down overs without complaining.

Ishant, however, didn’t make for the best batsman and despite his height, he was often troubled by short balls. He registered 34 ducks over his career and had a forgettable average of 8.26 with the bat.

Shane Warne | Australia – 34 ducks

Probably the greatest bowlers Australia has ever produced, the late great Shane Warne stands his own in the hall of fame of cricket. He has seen plenty of success over his nearly 15-year long Test career and was part of iconic battles with the most legendary batsmen of his time. Warne is also the second highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history with 708 wickets.

For all his excellence at turning the ball and deceiving batsmen, Warne was no mug with the bat either. In fact, he was quite reliable as a tail batter and his record of 12 half-centuries which includes his highest score of 99 suggests exactly that. The flamboyant spinner also has the second best average of 17.32 on this list after Stuart Broad.

However, he did get out for a duck on 34 different occasions on his career and knowing the personality Warne was, it probably meant an extra pint of beer to toast his teammates as compensation.

Muttiah Muralitharan | Sri Lanka – 33 ducks

One of the most incredible and legendary careers in Tests belongs to Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. Although his career was riddled with controversies, especially surrounding his bowling action, no bowler in the world can even come close to achieving Muralitharan’s feat in the longest and purest format of the sport.

Having retired with 800 wickets, Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in the entire history of Test cricket and he has plenty of distance between him and the rest of the field. With all that being said, he wasn’t particularly influential with the bat for his side and although he scored over 1200 runs as a tail-batter, he recorded 33 ducks over his 18-year long career in the sport.

James Anderson | England – 30 ducks

England’s James Anderson holds the record for taking the most wickets in Test cricket for a fast bowler. With 657 wickets to his name so far, it must be mentioned that Anderson continues to play an active role for England in the longest format of the sport. Despite being 40, he still has some time to take a few more wickets and probably climb higher on the list of the highest wicket-takers in Tests (he is third now) given his excellent longevity.

With the bat, however, Anderson doesn’t particularly inspire confidence. His average is below 10 and he has got out on a duck 30 times in his career. It must also be added that Anderson has also played more matches than anyone else on this list and considering that fact, he has done pretty well to not get out without scoring more often.

Zaheer Khan | India – 29 ducks

The leader of the Indian pace bowling unit for the duration of his entire career, Zaheer Khan has had a rich and storied career for the national team. Like Ishant Sharma, he has also taken 311 wickets throughout his entire career and had a bowling average of 32.94.

Zaheer, however, did also record 29 ducks after playing 92 matches. To his credit, he does have three half-centuries which is the third-highest for a player on this list after Stuart Broad and Shane Warne which suggests that he hadn’t completely failed with the bat. His batting average was also close to 12.

Mervyn Dillon | West Indies – 26 ducks

Despite playing just 38 Test matches which is comfortably lower than anyone else on this list, Mervyn Dillon finds himself included in 10th position after registering 26 ducks for the West Indies between 1997 and 2004.

Across 68 innings, he had managed to score over 500 runs but had an extremely poor average of 8.44 and his highest score in this format of the game is 43.

FAQs

Who holds the record for the most ducks in Test cricket by an Indian?

Among Indian cricketers, that record belongs to lanky fast bowler Ishant Sharma who was dismissed for a duck on 34 different occasions over his career.

Who has the most ducks in ODI cricket?

Sri Lankan all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya holds the record for the most ducks in ODI cricket after getting out without scoring a record 34 times in 445 matches! The fact that, despite this, he is considered one of the most revolutionary and innovative batters in One Day cricket is a testament to his ability and rich career.

Who has the most ducks in T20I cricket?

Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien has been dismissed for a duck on 12 occasions which is a record in T20I cricket.

Which team has scored the most ducks in an innings in Test cricket?

Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, and India have all registered six ducks in a single innings in Test cricket, which is the joint record. Bangladesh have also done so but on three separate occasions.

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