After his duck at Headingley against Sri Lanka last summer, Joe Root was, as has been commonplace for years within the game, said to have departed “without troubling the scorers”.
But this mindless phrase shows a complete lack of appreciation for those who tirelessly partake in an oft-forgotten role.
In fact, an early dismissal is the stuff of nightmares for a scorer. Unless the majority of the cricketing world has managed to avoid playing at a low-level, they should know the pain of being handed a scorebook after being shunted down the bottom of the batting order.
A string of single-figure scores has left you with no choice but to fill in every run, every extra, every dot ball and, most importantly, every wicket, in a book that looks about as nonsensical as Sanskrit to the average person.
Just as you start to get the hang of it—filling in two different boxes and crossing out a number when even a single run is scored—a wicket falls.
Panic ensues. The person on your team who knows what he is doing looks over your shoulder as you struggle manically to work out the not out batsman’s total, the partnership, and a whole host of seemingly useless statistics. You are barely halfway through the detail when the new man walks to the crease.
Is it really the case then, that another wicket now will not trouble the scorers?
Indeed, a first-ball duck is about as worrying a phenomenon as is imaginable for the pencil-bearing ‘volunteers’. It is time their efforts are recognised, and we consign this phrase to history.