Arvind’s (and other’s) exploits this year suggested it was time to do a deep dive with the archive. Here are a few low-lights.
Mandarins have been recorded as scoring at least 1,113 ducks. The first was scored by Ron Dearing, later Chief Exec of the Post Office and Lord Dearing of Kingston Upon Hull, on 5 May 1965 vs Windsor Victoria. The most recent was by Graeme Tunbridge at Alton on 18 September 2022. 1,081 of the ducks came from a total of 7,509 innings. 14.39% of all Mandarins innings end with the blob. That’s one in seven.
Although 2022 seemed dominated by zeroes, in fact it was a pretty normal year with 32 scored in 233 innings (only 13.73%). As it happens the full records break down into two “eras”, 1978-1993 and 2009 to the present, and there is a (probably statistically significant, help please Rob) distinct difference between them. In the earlier era the rate of ducks was 15.04%, but in the modern era only 13.54%. Better pitches? A less cavalier approach? Fewer Rabbits?
2012 and 2008 were years where the rate of zeroes fell below 10% but both are only partial records. The best two complete seasons were 1991 where only 9.80% of 306 innings were zero and only just behind, 1986 at 10.03%. In four of the six years between 1978 and 1983 the rate was over 18%, which was also exceeded in 2007, 2017 and 2020. There seems to be no correlation between the percentage of individual zeroes and team success. Three of the most successful winning years, 1983, 1987 and 1993 had zero rates around 18%. So did two of the worst years, 2013 and 2017.
One team, Wembley/Berkeley Taverners excelled in getting Mandarins out for nought. We recorded 5 against them in 1979, 5 more in 1980 and 7 (the record) in 1982, with only 10 men. Then we stopped playing them. There are four other instances of 5 zeroes in an innings, vs Great Tew 1980; Elstead 1988; Hampshire Mercenaries and Hetairoi 1993. And we got 6 against Woldingham in 1978 and on The Day of Shame, East Horsley, 23/7/2006 (last occasion of 5 or more zeroes in an innings).
Most zeroes in a season is 59 in 1993. Most by an individual in a season is 6, shared (fortunately) by Paul McIntyre, Jon Day, Mike O’Shea and Rob Eastaway (all in different seasons). In the modern era, with fewer games, no one has exceeded Arvind’s 4 this season. However, Arvind does not hold the record for most consecutive noughts. Mike O’Shea got 4 in 1980/81, and Bill Stow got 4 in 1985 then added a fifth after a two season furlough, in 1988. One respect in which 2022 was out of the ordinary was the number of players getting 3 or more zeros – six players this year, only exceeded by 7 players in 1984 and 1993.
Most noughts in a career is held by Paul McIntyre, 64, but he has played an awful lot of innings, so has far from the worst strike rate. And he improved dramatically between the two eras, halving his strike out rate in modern times. Most players with long careers seem to register zero at a fairly constant rate – only a minority have fared slightly worse as they age.
The longest sequence without a zero is held by Mike Richardson, 83 innings between 1983 and 1990. Luke Mayhew was not dismissed for zero in 58 innings, 1979-1987, and Tony Gray managed 51 between 1982 and 1990. Over roughly the same era David Gower had a sequence of 119 for England, but that is way more the next best test player. The modern cricketer can’t focus the same way. Best sequence in recent times is Chris Healey, 38, with Robin Pharoah leading the charge to better that, currently on 30.
For players with at least 100 innings the best records are Luke Mayhew, 3 ducks in 108 = 2.78%; Mike Richardson, 7 in 176 = 3.98%; Chris Healey, 9 in 200 = 4.50%; Tim Baxter 8 in 146 = 5.48%; and Graham Hadley 14 in 226 =6.19%. If the qualification is reduced to 40 innings, Robin Pharoah leads the way with 1 duck out of 40 =2.5%, and Jono Maher has 1 in 35. For comparison, the best test players with long careers are ducking in about 7% of innings.
And the worst record? Well, the usual suspects, with seven Mandarins recording nought in over 25% of innings, of which three in over 30% of innings, highest 38.82%. Again, this seems to be in line with the worst test records at around 33%.
Further gruesome details available on request………