Today, MS Dhoni lost the toss. Yet again. He has lost 13 of his last 14 tosses in Test cricket, and surely the statistical odds of that are mind-bogglingly small.
Since I’m not very good at math, I asked my friend, sports enthusiast and math wiz Mahek Vyas, to calculate the probability for losing 13 tosses out of 14.
He says the magic number is 0.000854, or one in 1170.
Long story short, you’re more likely to experience one of these freak incidents than lose 13 tosses out of 14:
- You have never heard about global warming: 1 in 8
- You will see a UFO: 1/14
- You will get hemorrhoids: 1/25
- You will be on a plane with a drunk pilot: 1/117
- An airline will lose your baggage: 1/138
- You will date a millionaire: 1/215
- You become a New York Times best-selling author: 1/220
To put things into perspective, India were given a 66 to 1 chance of winning the 1983 World Cup. Those odds are huge when compared to Dhoni's phenomenally bad run with the toss.
The last two lost tosses have resulted in South Africa inserting India in damp conditions. Centurion was lost. In Durban, India are struggling.
Dhoni had earlier this year lost nine straight tosses, equalling Sunil Gavaskar’s record. He won one against New Zealand in Ahmedabad, before losing four more on the trot.
Compare that with Gautam Gambhir’s record. He’s captained India five times this year in ODIs, winning each toss and each game.
Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted earlier today:
dont think it says anywhere that the nominated captain of the team has to go for the toss ......dhoni loses toss again
The cricket rulebook doesn’t say that a captain’s presence is compulsory at the toss.
Here’s what Law 1 (Players), Section 3(a) says about the toss:
If a captain is not available during the period in which the toss is to take place, then the deputy must be responsible for the nomination of the players, if this has not already been done, and for the toss.
In short, the vice captain can not only hand the team sheet to the umpires, he can also toss the coin in the captain’s place.
Do we need another reason to send Gambhir out for the toss in Cape Town?