(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.