If Indian cricket were a cheezy Bollywood comedy, Virat Kohli's favourite line would have been: mera bad luck hi kharab hai - my bad luck is terrible. Virat Kohli not only has had the worst luck among all Indian captains when it comes to the toss, but one of the worst in the world.
In any sport, 'luck' should ideally not play a decisive role. With the advent of technology - ironically designed to level the proverbial playing field - some games are being played and won on the slightest of margins. Like T20 cricket. A win or loss at the toss in the shortest form of the game becomes a big deal.
That's why in their two most important T20 World Cup matches – against Pakistan and New Zealand – India was forced to bat after losing the toss. We lost both in a tournament where an overwhelming majority of the matches were won by teams who batted second. But what could Virat Kohli have done?
King Kohli is an exceptional player and good captain, and he is perhaps the best batter in the world under pressure. But that is his cricketing talent. What does he do with his lack of 'talent' in winning tosses? Is there an academy he could go to to better his tossing skills? Should he go to a quantum physicist to learn the quantum rules that govern 'luck'?
It is truly unfathomable, an injustice of destiny that one of the greatest players of the game has had such rotten luck with tosses. Of the 210 matches across formats that he has captained for India so far, he has won the toss in 88 and lost in 122 making a win-loss ratio of 0.72, the worst among all skippers who have captained India for more than 100 matches as the table illustrates.
It is perhaps the reason why Twitterati went berserk in the second T20I against New Zealand when new full-time captain Rohit Sharma won his second consecutive toss. Turns out, he won his third toss as well yesterday, marking a crazy turn of luck after a stroke of 'bad luck' at the toss under Kohli.
And that's not all the luck that seems to have. In the 2019 ODI World Cup, Hitman Rohit converted three dropped catches into centuries and the fourth time he had to settle for a fifty after being dropped. It is as if after Rohit is dropped, he becomes invincible.
But it's not just all luck – tosses and dropped catches - with Rohit. He has been so far, a most remarkable captain as well. He has till now captained India in 22 T20Is and won 18 of them, hitting 9 fifties and 2 centuries in them. The 10 ODIs he has captained; India has won 8.
In the IPL he has captained 153 matches, winning 96 and losing 57. But his biggest achievement in the IPL is that ever since he began leading in 2013, he took Mumbai Indians to five out of nine titles. In overall captaincy wins in IPL, Rohit is next only to Dhoni, though he has won more titles than Captain Cool.
Thus it should come as no surprise that Rohit won a troika of tosses right at the onset of his captaincy. It is as if atop his usual good 'luck' he has been infused with extra fortune. If you want to know where that special magic comes from, look no further than Rahul Dravid. The Wall, after all, has the best toss records (see table) among all Indian captains across formats.
What is reassuring for Indian fans to know, is that despite winning the toss, both Rohit and Dravid decided to play the hard way: by choosing to bat first in the final T20I against the Black Caps.
Seems like the nation won't have to 'toss about' anymore as a new era of Indian cricket begins. Good 'luck' to the team, and all of us fans.
(Satyen K. Bordoloi is a scriptwriter, journalist based in Mumbai. He loves to let his pen roam the intersection of artificial intelligence, consciousness, and quantum mechanics. He is a regular contributor for The-Yuan and his written words have appeared in many Indian and foreign publications.)
Also by the author: