Ratra's dubious distinction of duck on debut

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2002, 20:44 [IST]
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India's Ajay Ratra began his Test career rather disastrously when he was out for a duck after playing just 7 balls in his debut Test innings against West Indies in the second Test at Port of Spain on 20.04.2002. He is the second wicket-keeper for India after J K Irani to be dismissed for a duck in the debut innings of a Test. Irani had his misfortune of a duck in his debut innings against Australia at Brisbane in 1947/48.

Ratra became the 30th player to keep wickets for India including Vijay Manjrekar who had donned the role of a wicket-keeper by unforeseen circumstances against West Indies at Kingston in 1952/53. It is interesting to note that Manjrekar had notched up a century (43&118) while playing his first Test as wicket-keeper after making his debut against England earlier at Calcutta in 1951-52. Four other Indian wicket-keepers P G Joshi, K S Indrajitsinhji, Bharat Reddy and S Viswanath have all made ducks in the second innings of their debut Tests.

Dilawar Hussain, who played three Tests for India, has the distinction of being the only wicket-keeper to score a fifty in his debut innings. In fact he scored fifty in each innings (59&57) on his debut against England at Calcutta in 1933-34. He had actually opened the innings along with Naoomal Jeoomal in the first innings and played at number seven in the 2nd innings.

The dearth of quality wicket-keepers in the Indian team since its entry into test cricket in 1932 can be guazed from the fact that in the 353 Tests played so far (including the Port of Spain Test), S M H Kirmani happens to be the only wicket-keeper to have played more than 50 Tests. Apart from Kirmani, the other Indian wicket-keepers to have come near the 50 Test mark are K S More (49 Tests), Farooq M Engineer (46 Tests) and Nayan Mongia (44 Tests). The following is the complete list of players who have kept wickets for India in Tests:

Sl NoWicket KeepersTests played as W/K
1Navle JG2
2Dilawar Hussain3
3Hindlekar DD4
4Meher Homji KR1
5Irani JK2
6Sen P14
7Joshi PG12
8Mantri MK3
10Maka ES2
11Manjrekar VL1
12Tamhane NS21
13Patankar CT1
14Kunderan BK15
15Engineer FM46
16Indrajitsinhji KS4
17Krishnamurthy P5
18Kirmani SMH88
19Reddy B4
20Viswanath S3
21More KS49
22Pandit CS3
23Yadav V1
24Mongia NR44
25Prasad MSK6
26Karim SS1
27Dahiya V2
28Dighe SS6
29Das Gupta D8
30Ratra A1
 Total353 Tests

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