Who Is the Worst Test Batsman of All-Time?
We’re always concerned with trying to find the best players of all time, but what if we were to look for the worst, like the worst batsman in the history of Test matches?
It would mean finding batsmen who have scored very few runs, have a low top score, have scored ducks and pairs on numerous occasions and are clearly not quite up to standard with the bat in their hands.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst batsmen in the history of the game and see where they stack up against each other.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.
An honorable mention goes to Curtly Ambrose of the West Indies, a man who was not blessed with natural ability with the bat but more than made up for it with the ball.
While a final average of 12.40 isn’t completely horrible, his record of 26 ducks places him joint-seventh on the all-time list.
He also recorded three pairs, showing that while Ambrose was a fearsome fast bowler, his batting needed improvement.
Alongside Ambrose in the honorable mentions comes Sri Lankan Pramodya Wickramasinghe, another bowler who never enjoyed much success with the bat.
While he scored 51 against South Africa in 1998, he recorded 17 ducks and a final average of 9.40, one of the poorest in the history of the game.
No. 10: Mervyn Dillon
38 Tests; 549 runs; 8.44 average; 43 highest score, 26 ducks; 4 pairs
At No. 10 comes another West Indian fast bowler, as Mervyn Dillon makes an appearance in this list.
Having 26 ducks to his name is bad enough, but Dillon has also recorded the joint-second-most number of pairs in his career also, tallying four.
He is saved from being higher in this list, thanks to some decent contributions at times with the bat, especially 43 at No. 8 that helped his country draw with India in 2002.
No. 9: Monty Panesar
48 Tests; 216 runs; 5.26 average; 26 highest score; 18 ducks; 1 pair
Above Dillon comes a man who gained cult status in England, thanks to his poor batting and fielding—Monty Panesar.
Although he showed some minor flashes of brilliance with the bat, Panesar is still famously inept.
No. 8: Fidel Edwards
55 Tests; 394 runs; 6.56 average; 30 highest score; 19 ducks; 2 pairs
Next on our list comes Fidel Edwards, a West Indian blessed with blistering pace but sadly very little batting talent.
Only passing 20 on four occasions, Edwards could rarely be relied upon for a long stay at the crease.
No. 7: Devon Malcolm
40 Tests; 236 runs; 6.05 average; 29 highest score; 16 ducks; 3 pairs
Another cult hero for his poor batting and fielding, Devon Malcolm was another fast bowler who struggled to have an impact with the willow.
He had the ability to bowl England to victory, notably against South Africa in 1994 but unfortunately could not match these exploits with batting prowess.
No. 6: Danish Kaneria
61 Tests; 360 runs; 7.05 average; 29 highest score; 25 ducks; 2 pairs
Pakistan’s former leg-spinner Danish Kaneria comes in at No. 6 as another who was found wanting with the bat.
Never once passing 30 and being dismissed for 0 on 25 occasions, batting was clearly not Kaneria’s strongest suit.
No. 5: Phil Tufnell
42 Tests; 153 runs; 5.10 average; 22* highest score; 15 ducks; 2 pairs
Known for his fear of the fast bowling that dominated the 1990s, England spinner Phil Tufnell was a cult hero for his interesting style of batting.
From early in his career, when Shane Warne left him clueless, Tufnell seemed unable to find any improvement with the bat.
No. 4: Glenn McGrath
124 Tests; 641 runs; 7.36 average; 61 highest score; 35 ducks; 3 pairs
In at No. 4 comes another of the greatest fast bowlers of all time and one of the worst batsmen—Glenn McGrath.
Every run he scored would be greeted with delight from his team-mates, showing McGrath’s popularity but also his ineptitude with the bat in his hands.
No. 3: Bhagwath Chandrasekhar
58 Tests; 167 runs; 4.07 average; 22 highest score; 23 ducks; 4 pairs
Above McGrath comes Indian leg-spinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, his country’s best bowler during their early years in Test cricket.
Unfortunately, he was not quite so effective with the bat, perhaps in part due to the polio that gave him an unorthodox bowling action.
No. 2: Courtney Walsh
132 Tests; 936 runs; 7.54 average; 30* highest score; 43 ducks; 4 pairs
Unfortunately, falling just short of the top spot comes the West Indian Courtney Walsh, a terrifying fast bowler who seemed terrified when batting himself.
The scorer of the most ducks in the history of Test cricket, Walsh thankfully had more than enough talent with the ball to make up for his lack of batting ability.
No. 1: Chris Martin
71 Tests; 123 runs; 2.36 average; 12* highest score; 36 ducks; 7 pairs
In a discussion of the worst Test batsman of all time, there can only be one winner—Chris Martin of New Zealand.
Possibly the last cricketer to only truly specialise in one facet of the game, Martin was legendary for his poor batting and reached double figures just once in his career, against Bangladesh in 2008.
To his credit, Martin retained his sense of humour about his inability to put bat on ball and even released a spoof video with Pulp Sport advertising as a new DVD called “Learn to Bat Like Chris Martin.”
However, for the most part, he was absolutely hopeless and was perhaps only saved from having the most ducks in Test history by playing fewer Tests than Walsh, the only man above him in the all-time list.