[/B] The duck may well be the favourite item on the Indian Premier League's menu.
How else does one explain the large number of ducks this season?
Going by the latest statistics (after Match 43 between the Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers), the second edition of the Twenty20 tournament has seen as many as 30 golden ducks -- in other words, first ball dismissals.
And when you have blasters like Adam Gilchrist, Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Kevin Pietersen, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sourav Ganguly figuring on that list, it doesn't augur well for a tournament struggling to match the impact it made in its inaugural year.
It can be pointed out that South African wickets are fast and the batsmen have had trouble adjusting to them. Also, it can be argued that most Indian batsmen are used to slower, spin-friendly wickets back home, and have failed to adapt.
But didn't the teams go earlier to adapt? And haven't the spinners been successful on the so-called fast tracks?
The second season's most expensive player, Kevin Pietersen, was out to the first ball he faced from Muttiah Muralitharan in Port Elizabeth. A few days later, he effected a golden duck himself when he had Brendon McCullum of the Kolkata Knight Riders caught at point by Virat Kohli in Durban.
There are also several instances of silver ducks -- batsmen getting out off the second ball without scoring. Kings XI Punjab's Simon Katich was dismissed thus against the Mumbai Indians at the Centurion as was Pragyan Ojha against the Delhi Daredevils in Durban, the latest instances of the silver duck syndrome.
There have been a few diamond ducks as well -- batsmen getting out without having faced a single delivery. Kings XI Punjab's Piyush Chawla is the most recent player to achiever that dubious distinction.