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11.09.2018  Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM

Virat Kohli's disbelief

Virat Kohli once again lost the toss for the fifth consecutive time in the Oval Test. As a result, the Indians were denied the opportunity of batting first on a good pitch. Kohli called heads for the fifth successive time in the series and to Kohli's disbelief it came down tails.

This brings us to the pertinent question. Does calling at the toss make any difference to the final out come? The logical answer would be a big NO. But the toss is one factor governed by the Law of Probability and not by the Law of Reasoning.

Law of Reasoning

By following the Law of Reasoning, one can firmly say every flip is an independent event which is not affected by the earlier results. This is simply because the coin has no memory of the past events. Even if you call Heads 100 times and you lose all the 100 times, your Probability of winning on the 101st flip is still 50%. However, a more accurate scientific method in the form of Law of Probability suggests something different.

If a coin is tossed twice, the probability that on the first toss the coin lands heads and on the second toss the coin lands tail is 25%. When you call Heads for three consecutive times, the probability of winning on the third time is 12.50%. For the fourth time it is 8%.

But if you keep calling Heads five consecutive times, like what Kohli did in this series, then the odds of winning the toss on the fifth time is a meagre 3% which is next to zero. This was the kind of risk that Kohli took by calling Heads all the time in the series.

Captains sentiment

The Captains are sometimes driven by sentiment in calling at the toss. Their previous predictions and the respective outcomes, both of the Toss and the ultimate results of the match, play on the minds of the Captains. But if a Captain keeps calling the same option and if he keeps losing that, he should certainly change his calling to change his luck. The toss in Cricket, though not a decisive factor, plays a crucial role in deciding the outcome of a match.

Kohli's overall luck with the toss in Test matches stands at a healthy 45%. He has won the toss on 18 occasions out of the 40 Test matches that he has captained India. All and sundry would agree that the current series in England would have taken a different turn had Kohli won a toss or two in the interim. The series would have reached a perfect climax at the Oval. Every time India lost the toss in the series, they were compelled to play the catch up game.

It is a mystery that the fate of the toss always favours the home team. Over the past three years, visiting teams had won just 57 tosses out of the 172 Test matches which works out to 33% only.

Looking back, had Kohli shed his sentiment and called differently during the middle of the series, the results could have been different. Again, it is only an argument devoid of reasoning. Some people have a knack for things and Kohli doesn't have a knack for the coin call.