Imagine spending most of your formative years toiling away in hope and you finally step on the hallowed turf of Test cricket only to get dismissed for a first-ball duck. Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan became the latest batsman to experience the tremors accompanying a player's debut when he was sent back without troubling the scorers during the first innings of the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton.
Including the 24-year old from Peshawar, there have been 30 cricketers who began their Test careers with a golden duck in at least one of their first two innings. Let us revisit five such instances wherein certain specialist batsmen were introduced to the unforgiving nature of the game in their first outing itself.
#5 – Alistair Campbell
In chronological order, the first of five batsmen on this list is Alistair Campbell. The left-hander played 60 Tests from 1992 to 2002 in a Zimbabwe side which competed on an even keel against the best teams of that era.
His entry into Test cricket was special for more reasons than one. He had the privilege of playing in his country’s first ever Test and contributed with a handy 45 in the first-innings. However, Campbell succumbed to a golden duck in the second innings at the hands of Kapil Dev even as the game itself petered out to a tame draw.
#4 – Jimmy Cook
Earlier this year, South Africa managed to unearth a new opener when Stephen Cook scored a century on Test debut. It was not one bit surprising considering that opening the innings runs through his blood. The 33-year old’s father Jimmy was one of the most unfortunate stories of international cricket as the world did not get to witness him at his peak due to the Apartheid era.
The Somerset veteran could only make his entry at the highest level when he was 39. His debut also marked the occasion of cricket returning to South African shores after 22 years. But, Jimmy took the Test to an anti-climactic start after being dismissed off the very first delivery by Kapil Dev. He had better luck in the second innings though and chipped in with a 84-ball 43 as the game ended in stalemate.
#3 – Michael Bevan
A batsman who can stake a genuine claim to being the best ever ODI batsman, Michael Bevan's Test career failed to reach similar heights. In his defense, he played at a time when Australia could field two different sides on the same day and still beat most Test teams.
On a typical slow and low subcontinental surface at the National Stadium in Karachi, Bevan made his Test debut and top-scored in the first innings with a resourceful 82. But, his first-ball duck triggered a major collapse in the second innings as Australia succumbed to 232 all out from 171/2. Propelled by Saeed Anwar's stability and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s heroics, Pakistan eventually romped home by one wicket.
#2 – Craig McMillan
New Zealand's current batting coach Craig McMillan was predominantly known for his white-ball exploits which bolstered a highly adaptable Kiwi outfit. However, his Test record was not too shabby either as evidenced by a commendable record of 3116 runs at an average of 38.46.
Also a handy seam up bowler and an efficient fielder, he made as many as 25 scores of fifty or more. McMillan’s debut was against a bowling attack featuring the dual threat of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Although his 54 in the first innings helped push the team total in the vicinity of Australia’s, he found it difficult on the final day and perished to a golden duck.
#1 – Chris Gayle
When one thinks of Chris Gayle, the image of a brash and burly batsman tearing into the opposition springs to mind immediately. Before all that, he was a scrawny youngster eager to establish himself in a side which still carried the lingering memories of the enriched Calypso legacy. The menacing new-ball duo of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were not done yet.
Making his debut in what would ultimately become a thrilling match, the left-hander showed glimpses of his boundary-hitting ability by carting the ball six times to the fence during the first innings. But, he was castled by Heath Streak without troubling the scorers in the second innings and his side capsized to 147. In the end, they pulled off a miraculous heist by routing Zimbabwe for just 63 on a riveting final day.