We have already looked at those who failed to score a run in their T20I and ODI careers. Now we turn to Tests.
Data correct as of 5 Feb 2017. The match involving the ICC XI is not counted.
Most matches without scoring a run (2 or more):
3 players did not score a run in 3 Tests-though CF Root did not get a chance to bat in any of his 3 matches. 7 others did not score a run in 2 Tests, of whom CM Willoughby did not get a chance to bat.
Most innings without scoring a run (2 or more):
Only AW Mold played 3 innings without scoring a run, while many others played 2 innings.
It would be nice to identify those who went through their Test careers without facing a ball. But scorecards usually did not always note the number of balls. Cricinfo’s database is supposedly complete from the 2000s onwards.
If you ask Statsguru who played in the most Tests without facing a ball, the answer will be the Pakistani keeper Imtiaz Ahmed, who played 41 Tests and scored over 2000 runs. But scorecards in the database do not have the number of balls for any of his innings. Anyway, we see what we can do with data after 2000.
Most matches played (after 1 Jan 2000) for no balls faced
In these cases they never got to bat.
So we now look at
Most innings played (after 1 Jan 2000) for no balls faced:
This means that everyone who played at least one innings since 2000 has faced at least one ball. There were temporary aberrations such as the career of Imran Khan junior who did not face a ball in his first 4 Tests (in which he batted in only one innings), though he has subsequently batted and even scored some runs. See his batting career.
Finally we look at those who
Never batted in an innings in their Test career:
Only 19 such cases, headed by the long-forgotten CF Root, and followed by the more recent CM Willoughby who did not go to bat in their careers of 3 and 2 Tests respectively. We may as well learn more about them:
Fred Root, who took 8 wickets in his 3 Tests again Australia in 1926, was not that bad a batsman as he averaged almost 15 in first-class cricket.
Charl Willoughby took only 1 wicket in his 2 Tests in 2003. His FC batting average was just over 6.
Then there are numerous others who did not bat in their only Tests. There is, of course, the famous JCW MacBryan who (uniquely in Tests) did not bat, bowl or take a catch in his only Test (in which his opponents batted for 66 overs and his team did not bat): http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62542.html
He had a reasonable first-class career:
He was prominent enough in domestic cricket to be one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1925. He also won an Olympic gold medal, being part of Britain’s hockey team in 1920.
Another interesting case is that of V.Rajindernath who did not bat (but took 4 stumpings) in his only Test.