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In cricket, a duck is a batsman's dismissal for a score of zero.[1]


Origin of the termEdit

The term is a shortening of the term "duck's egg", the latter being used long before Test cricket began. When referring to the Prince of Wales' (the future Edward VII) score of nought on 17 July 1866, a contemporary newspaper wrote that the Prince "retired to the royal pavilion on a 'duck's egg' ".[2] The name is believed to come from the shape of the number "0" being similar to that of a duck's egg, as in the case of the American slang term "goose-egg" popular in baseball and the tennis term "love," derived - according to one theory - from French l'oeuf ("the egg"). The Concise Oxford Dictionary still cites "duck's egg" as an alternative version of the term.[3]

Significant ducksEdit

The first duck in a Test match was made in the very first Test, between Australia and England at Melbourne in March 1877, when Ned Gregory was caught by Andrew Greenwood off the bowling of James Lillywhite.[4] As of 2017, the record for the most ducks in Test cricket is held by West Indies player Courtney Walsh, who was out for nought on 43 occasions,[5] while the overall first-class record is 156, set by Worcestershire and England player Reg Perks.[6]

One particularly high-profile example of a duck came in 1948, when Don Bradman was playing his final Test match for Australia, against England at The Oval. In Australia's first innings, Bradman was bowled for a duck by Eric Hollies, causing his Test average to fall from 101.39 to 99.94; had he scored just four runs, his average would have been 100. As things turned out, Australia won the match by an innings, and so Bradman did not get to bat a second time (had he batted, he would have needed at least 104 runs if dismissed or at least four runs if not out to get his average back to 100).[7]

In the first Test of Australia's tour of India in 1986, with the cumulative scores tied, Indian tailender Maninder Singh was trapped LBW by Greg Matthews for a four ball duck, ensuring just the second tied Test in Test Cricket history.

Indian all-rounder Ajit Agarkar earned the unfortunate nickname "Bombay Duck" after being dismissed for ducks five consecutive times in test matches against Australia.[8][9]

In a 1913 match against Glastonbury, Huish and Langport's batsmen all scored ducks for a total of zero runs.[10] A similar occurrence in indoor cricket happened in 2016, when Bapchild Cricket Club were dismissed for zero against Christ Church University.[11]

On January 30, 2017 tailender Josh Hazlewood (Aus) became the first player to be dismissed for a diamond duck in a partnership of more than fifty runs. He was run out at the non-striker's end without facing a delivery.

On 22 April 2019, Ashton Turner, playing for the Rajasthan Royals against the Delhi Capitals in the 2019 Indian Premier League tournament, was dismissed without scoring. He became the first batsman to make five consecutive ducks in Twenty20 cricket.[12]


There are several variations used to describe specific types of duck. The usage or prevalence of many of these terms vary regionally, with one term having different meanings in different parts of the world. Even within commentary from ESPN Cricinfo or individual cricket board websites, there is no uniform application of some of these terms.

  • Players who are dismissed by the first ball they face are said to have been dismissed for a golden duck. This term is applied uniformly throughout the cricket world.[13]
  • A batsman who is dismissed without facing a ball (most usually run out from the non-striker's end, but alternatively stumped or run out off a wide delivery) is said to be out for a diamond duck,[14][15][16][17] but in some regions that term has an alternative definition.
  • An opening batsman who is dismissed on the first ball of a team's innings is said to be out for a diamond duck,[14][18] platinum duck[19] or royal duck,[2] depending upon the regional usage.


To be dismissed for nought in both innings of the same two-innings match is to be dismissed for a pair,[20] because the two noughts together are thought to resemble a pair of spectacles; the longer form is occasionally used.[21] To be dismissed first ball in both innings (i.e., two golden ducks) is to suffer the indignity of making a king pair.[13]

Most duck by a batsmen in his career (top ten)

Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s
M Muralitharan (Asia/ICC/SL) 1992-2011 495 328 119 1936 67 9.26 2668 72.56 0 1 59 196 41
CA Walsh (WI) 1984-2001 337 264 94 1257 30* 7.39 2539 49.50 0 0 54 100+ 28+
ST Jayasuriya (Asia/SL) 1989-2011 586 651 35 21032 340 34.14 25849+ 81.13* 42 103 53 2486 352
GD McGrath (AUS/ICC) 1993-2007 376 207 89 761 61 6.44 1818 41.85 0 1 49 58 1
DPMD Jayawardene (Asia/SL) 1997-2015 652 725 62 25957 374 39.15 40100 64.73 54 136 47 2679 170
DL Vettori (ICC/NZ) 1997-2015 442 383 86 6989 140 23.53 10692 65.36 6 27 46 745 34
Wasim Akram (PAK) 1984-2003 460 427 74 6615 257* 18.73 9597+ 68.39* 3 13 45 571+ 178+
Z Khan (Asia/INDIA) 2000-2014 309 232 61 2036 75 11.90 3469 58.69 0 3 44 210 53
SK Warne (AUS/ICC) 1992-2007 339 306 46 4172 99 16.04 6883 60.61 0 13 44 413 50

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The origins of cricket jargon". BBC Bitesize. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b LONDON from THE DAILY TIMES CORRESPONDENT, 25 July 1866 can be viewed at Paper's past
  3. ^ "duck". Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Australia v England in 1876/77". CricketArchive. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Tests – Most Ducks in Career". Cricinfo. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Most Ducks in First-Class Cricket". CricketArchive. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  7. ^ "Don Bradman". CricketArchive. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  8. ^ "No more Bombay Duck". The Sun. 4 August 2007.
  9. ^ Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4.
  10. ^ Morris, Steven (7 September 2011). "Ducks all round: the cricket team that was all out for nought". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Cricket team bowled out for zero in Kent indoor game". BBC Sport. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Ashton Turner in record fifth successive T20 duck - four of them first ball". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Cricket explained". Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  14. ^ a b Victorian Cricket Association Umpires and Scorers Association Association Newsletter, Vol. 15 No. 5, 2008–2009 season, p11
  15. ^ " Twenty20 Match Commentary". Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  16. ^ Samuel, Martin (4 December 2010). "A diamond duck? Simon Katich's howler was as rare as a sighting of Quackula..." Daily Mail. London.
  17. ^ "Diamond duck places Katich in select Ashes club". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 December 2010.
  18. ^ All Today's Yesterdays – South Africa's first home Test for 22 years
  19. ^ Sailesh S. Radha, Five Days in White Flannels: A Trivia Book on Test Cricket, p46, (AuthorHouse) ISBN 1-4389-2469-0
  20. ^ "Middlesex facing innings defeat at Lord's". Middlesex County Cricket Club. 22 June 2006. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  21. ^ Blofeld, Henry (18 August 2003). "CRICKET: Smith has the class and character to revive England". The Independent. FindArticles. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013. Conversely, Graham Gooch made a pair of spectacles in his first Test, against Australia.