Team India was taken to the cleaners by the number-one ranked English T20 side in the opening game of their five-match series, but the home fans were actually kinda glad about it.

 

This stems for a popular online theory which claims that the Virat Kohli-led outfit is more likely to win a series after losing its first match. This collective belief/superstition has been gathering noteworthy momentum on Twitter, as even commentator and former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra jumped on the bandwagon.

But how much water does this conjecture actually hold?

I did a little bit of digging to catch this bull by its horns. And it so happens that Team India has lost a bilateral T20 international series only (including only the series where more than one match was played) thrice out of the last 12 occasions  after being down 1-0. 

The most recent instance of an Indian comeback was witnessed in 2019 against a visiting Bangladesh side.

The hosts lost the first game of the series in Delhi, but bounced back strongly in Rajkot and Nagpur to sweep the series 2-1.

Earlier in the same year though, the Indians couldn’t recover from being knocked down first, twice. First, they were bettered 2-1 by New Zealand Down Under, and then 2-0 by Australia in the subcontinent. 

However, it’s worth pointing out here that the Men in Blue have showcased decent character while coming back from behind, across all formats, in the recent past.

According to  ESPN Cricinfo, three out of their previous five ODI series wins have come after losing the first game. This includes two 2-1 series wins against Australia: one at home weeks before the global COVID-19 outbreak, and the other in the Kangaroos’ den in 2019.

More famously, both of India’s last two series victories in whites have also come in similar fashion. An injury-struck young Indian squad shrugged off being dismissed for 36 in Adelaide to heroically clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. They followed it up with a thorough thrashing of Joe Root’s men despite suffering a demoralising 227-run defeat in the foremost Test in Chennai. 

Fans of the Men in Blue will be hoping for a repeat, when they face England in the second match of the five-part series, on Sunday. The visitors romped to an eight-wicket win in the opener, with almost five overs to spare. The hosts missed the services of star batsman Rohit Sharma, who is rested for the first couple of games. His break could well be cut short on the back of this result.

“We just weren’t aware of what we had to do on that pitch, lack of execution on our shots and something we have to address. Accept your faults, come back with more intent, clarity of areas you want to hit,” admitted Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation.

“These five games before the World Cup, we have to try and few things, but we can’t take anything lightly against England.”

This series is being considered a dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup to be played later this year, in India. A series win here would not just add to Team India’s collection reel of famous comeback series victories, but will also be a huge confidence boost ahead of an important 2021. 

Picture Credits: Instagram/ Indian Cricket Team.