So said Jos Buttler, the England captain, at the toss interview with Ravi Shastri.
It was the sort of statement which, when you think about it, makes no sense whatsoever.
So, the more you lose, the more likely you are to win? Or, if you keep losing, the balance of probabilities would suggest that at some point you won’t lose?
Perhaps it is not much of a surprise, therefore, given that type of reasoning, why England have struggled at the World Cup.
Too much muddled thinking and overthinking. If only the world champions had lived up to their tag.
Buttler, a man who plays the game with a slightly pained look on his face, as if his trousers are too tight and digging into his crotch, could be forgiven for a shortage of eloquence in such situations.
Let’s face it, all a captain wants to do after the toss is to get back to the dressing room as quickly as possible to prepare for the game; he doesn’t want Shastri, or anyone else, throwing up bland enquiries along the lines of: “Obviously, you haven’t won in ages, but are spirits still high in the camp?”
Throw in another debatable decision to bowl first anyway, instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and setting a target, and sticking to an unchanged team instead of giving more chances to players such as Harry Brook and Gus Atkinson, the coming men, and the portents were not good before a ball had been bowled.
Sure enough, England crashed to a 100-run defeat that leaves them all but mathematically out of the World Cup with three matches left, a fifth defeat in six games – and a fourth in succession – keeping them marooned to the foot of the table.
In fairness to Buttler and his men, their heads left spinning and their brains scrambled during the worst title defence anyone can remember, England did plenty right in this match, restricting India to what looked like an eminently chaseable 229-9 on the back of a determined bowling and, in particular, fielding performance.
But they always say that it’s the hope that kills you and, sure enough, when England tumbled from 30-0 to 39-4, the script reverted to type, the innings subsiding to 129 all out with 15.1 overs left unused.
As everyone knows, it’s no good being 2-0 up at half-time if you then go on to lose heavily, and with India’s bowling too good and England’s batting not good enough, the hosts maintained their unbeaten start, in the process returning to the top of the table.
Of further concern for England, who return to action on Saturday against Australia in Ahmedabad, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that only the top seven sides at the finish of the group stage, along with the hosts (Pakistan), will compete for the Champions’ Trophy in 2025; let’s just say that it might be wise for England’s supporters to hold fire on any travel arrangements.
On a slow and two-paced pitch in Lucknow, birthplace of Harry Webb (aka Cliff Richard), India were soon in trouble at 40-3.
Chris Woakes nipped one back to bowl Shubman Gill; Virat Kohli – tied down by good bowling and some excellent fielding from Dawid Malan especially – lost patience and skied David Willey to mid-off, then Shreyas Iyer miscued a pull off Woakes to mid-on.
Rohit Sharma, the India captain who is having a magnificent competition, showed all his class on a challenging surface, reaching a 66-ball half-century with six fours and two sixes.
Sharma added 91 for the fourth wicket with KL Rahul, which got the innings back on course, although Rahul’s dismissal was out of the England book of dreadful – a wild hack at Willey taken by Jonny Bairstow at mid-on.
Sharma holed out in the deep for a fine 87, Adil Rashid the bowler and Liam Livingstone the catcher, the fielder lucky to escape serious injury when his knee got stuck in the turf.
Suryakumar Yadav whacked 49 at better than a run-a-ball, but India subsided as Willey finished with 3-45, the former Yorkshire bowler the pick of the attack despite being the only member of the side overlooked in the latest round of central contracts; yet more muddled thinking.
Bairstow and Malan shared 30 for the first wicket inside five overs, adding to the sense that this might be England’s day.
But when Malan chopped on to Jasprit Bumrah and Joe Root was trapped for a golden duck, closely followed by Mohammed Shami bowling the hapless Ben Stokes and inducing Bairstow to chop on, England were 39-4 and the slide was on.
Shami and Bumrah were superb, well supported by spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, as the theme not only of English defeats continued but whopping English defeats: nine wickets, 69 runs, 229 runs, eight wickets and now this 100-run trouncing.