Monday, April 25, 2011

India always loses when Tendulkar scores a hundred

(This has also been cross posted at the Mumbai cricket blog)

It has become something of a given. People are happy that Tendulkar did not score a hundred. Because we all know that if he does, India (or Mumbai) will definitely lose the game. Entire prayers were for the world cup were based around Tendulkar not scoring a hundred in the knock-out games. The sigh of relief when he was dismissed early in the final was heard all the way in Sri Lanka, who were probably wondering whether India were trying to be more than gracious hosts.

So, how true is it? Does India really lose every time Tendulkar scores a hundred?

A quick check reveals that of the 48 ODIs that Tendulkar has scored a hundred in, India have won 33 of them and lost 15, with one tie and one no result. That means India have only lost 27% of the games in which Tendulkar has scored a hundred, which is certainly not bad. In fact, starting 2007, Tendulkar has scored 8 hundreds, and India have won 5 and tied 1 of those, with a failure rate of 25%, so discernable difference there either.

In tests, the hypothesis makes even less sense. Of the 51 tests in which Tendulkar has scored a hundred, India have won 20, drawn 20 and lost 11. The failure rate here is only 22%. In the last 5 years, the failure rate from 16 tests falls to under 19% (8 wins and 5 draws). In fact, the highest this number has ever been is 32% in 1999. The success rate (for wins) was always in the tens and twenties in the 1990s, and since 2002, has steadily gone up to almost 40%.

So, how did this urban legend of India's loss being caused by Tendular's hundreds come about? Probably due to sheer numbers. Most people score as many centuries as Tendulkar does in losing causes. Plus, some epic centuries by him resulted in losses due to the brain dead batting of the players who followed. Such things tend to stick in the memory longer. And good old confirmatory bias probably plays a part as well.

Next time, do yourself and others a favour. Stop this India loses whenever Tendulkar scores a hundred nonsense and just enjoy the game.


The recent dictatorship Lokpal bill reminded me of the following exchange between Floyd Ferris and Hank Rearden from Atlas Shrugged:

Dr. Ferris smiled. "We've waited a long time to get something on you. You honest men are such a problem and such a headache. But we knew you'd slip sooner or later—and this is just what we wanted."

"You seem to be pleased about it."

"Don't I have good reason to be?"

"But, after all, I did break one of your laws."

"Well, what do you think they're for?"

Dr. Ferris did not notice the sudden look on Rearden's face, the look of a man hit by the first vision of that which he had sought to see. Dr. Ferris was past the stage of seeing; he was intent upon delivering the last blows to an animal caught in a trap.

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against—then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Now that you think about it, doesn't this sound like India?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Libertarian India?

From this article over at The New Republic on USA 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson:

Within moments, he's taking aim at stop signs and red lights. "I'm not opposed to the concept," he allows. "But sometimes, you know, it's 5:30 in the morning! There's nobody on the road!" Johnson laughs, turns in his seat, and fixes me with a grin. "That's the first sign you know you're a libertarian," he says. "You see the red light. You stop. You realize that there's not a car in sight. And you put your foot on the gas."

Does this mean most of India is libertarian?