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When any opening batter walks out to the middle to face the first ball of the innings, he or she looks to get off the mark without being dismissed by the bowler. The primary job of openers is to provide a solid start to their team, so that the middle order can build on the platform to put together a huge total on the board, especially in Test cricket.

So, when an opening batter gets out for no score during their innings, a duck is put next to their name. The term “duck” in the game of cricket arrived from the time when the manual scoreboards in certain stadiums, most famously at the Adelaide Oval, denoted a duck egg for batters who got out for 0. This duck was known to be more pointed at the top and wider at the bottom.

Notably, there are many different types of ducks prevalent in cricket, including Golden Duck, Diamond Duck, Silver Duck, and a King Pair, etc. But one of the least known ducks among them is the Royal Duck, when an opener gets out on the first ball of the innings in a match. 

Many believe it is associated with the Ashes, when an opening batter from either England or Australia gets out on the first ball of an innings during the Test series. For example, in the first Test match of the Ashes 2021-22, Mitchell Starc of Australia castled Rory Burns of England on the first ball of the series in front of a rocking home crowd at The Gabba in Brisbane. Also, in the Ashes 2013-14, Ryan Harris shattered the stumps of Sir Alastair Cook at the W.A.C.A. Ground in Perth during the third Test match.

Either way, we can say with certainty that no opening batter would like to have Royal Duck associated with their name in any case. A cricketer would want to be remembered for their greatest achievements, the moments where he or she attains individual or team glory.