Who Is the Worst Test Batsman of All-Time?

Chris Teale@@chris_tealeFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2013

Who Is the Worst Test Batsman of All-Time?

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    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.

Honorable Mentions

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    Curtly Ambrose

    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.

    Pramodya Wickramasinghe

    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

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    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

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    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.

    He may have saved the first Ashes Test of 2009 at Sophia Gardens in a brilliant last-wicket stand with James Anderson, but then you must consider his dive against New Zealand in 2013.

No. 8: Fidel Edwards

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.”

    Every so often, he was able to unfurl a good shot or two, like off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh respectively.

    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.