This Is Why A ‘Zero’ In Cricket Is Called A ‘Duck’

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Updated on 12 Jul, 2017 at 5:00 pm


Ever wondered why when a batsman get out at zero, the term “duck” is used?


The term duck is used in different ways for different situations. The usage may vary regionally.

  • If a batsman is out on the very first ball he faced then it is called dismissed for a golden duck.
  • When a batsman leaves on the 2nd or 3rd ballhe is said to have been dismissed for a silver and bronze duck respectively.
  • If a batsman is out without facing any delivery (run out from the non-striker’s end, or stumped off a wide delivery) then it is called being dismissed for a diamond duck.
  •  If a batsman is dismissed for a duck on the very first ball of the innings, or the team’s first match of the season then it is called being dismissed for a Palladium duck.


The question is, given that a duck is a water bird, what possible relation could there be between a duck and a zero score in cricket? We have found out the actual reason.

The actual term is “duck’s egg out” which has been  shortened to duck over a period of time.The term has been in use since way before test cricket began. We call a zero score a duck out is because of the egg’s shape. The term “duck” comes from the shape of the number ‘0’ which is similar to that of duck’s egg.

In 1886, when the Prince of Wales got out without scoring a single run, the term ‘duck’ was used for the first time. His dismissal made headlines and a local newspaper  wrote “Prince retired  to the royal pavilion on a duck’s egg”.



The newspaper meant to tell the readers that the Prince has scored a number which is similar to duck’s egg, that is “0”. Soon after this, the term got famous and started being used in various newspapers and with this the term became popular.



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