In the third Australia v New Zealand Test of 2015, Mitchell Santner became the 268th man to debut in Tests for the BLACKCAPS. When he hit Peter Siddle to the boundary to get off the mark, he made the definitive step to ensuring he didn’t join the four BLACKCAPS’ batsmen who never scored a run in their Test careers. Here, we look at those unfortunate few.
LEN BUTTERFIELD & GORDON ROWE
Butterfield and Rowe are the first names on this list and they’re probably the most unfortunate of all. Both men debuted in the same match, made a pair, were each dismissed in the same way and by the same bowler in each innings, and neither ever played another Test. The real kicker for the pair was that, when they took the field for New Zealand against Australia at the Basin Reserve in 1946, it wasn’t classed as a Test. When the match was given that status a couple of years later, they were given an unwanted place in history.
There is no shame in representing your country on the highest stage, though, and both men enjoyed high points in their careers: Gordon Rowe would go on to be an umpire, standing in the 1981-82 Women’s World Cup, while Len Butterfield was a Plunket Shield-winner.
Ian Leggat travelled to South Africa on the famous 1953-54 tour, debuting in the third Test at Cape Town. After making a duck and bowling just three overs, Leggat’s Test career was over. But, again, his sole performance in Test cricket would not define his talents. In 2011, Leggat was named to the Hawke Cup’s Team of the Century. In the history of that competition, as at the start of the 2015-16 summer, he was still the highest run-scorer and held third spot on the wicket-takers list.
Colin Snedden is the odd-one-out when it comes to this list, as he never had the chance to bat in Test cricket. Snedden’s New Zealand debut came in 1947’s Test against England at Christchurch. Standing alongside him in their first Test that day were Bert Sutcliffe, Tom Burtt, Bob Scott, Brun Smith and Don Taylor. Captain, Walter Hadlee, declared the New Zealand innings closed at 345 for 9, meaning Snedden wasn’t required to bat, and then rain washed out much of the rest of the match. Snedden did get the opportunity to bowl 16 overs, but he couldn’t claim a wicket.
Much like Butterfield and Rowe, Snedden’s post-Test career was short but he made a name for himself as a radio commentator for many years.
A side note: before their respective deaths, both Len Butterfield and Colin Snedden held the title of New Zealand’s oldest Test cricketers.