By Hans Ebert

They were not only game changers, they’ve probably changed the way the game of cricket is going to be played and how to approach it- mentally. The way they went about defying the odds, showing resilience in all its many ways.Their heroics created so much excitement and interest for audiences at home.

Whether in Australia, India, Hong Kong or wherever cricket is played- how this young team from India travelled to foreign shores and played with such maturity and a very different mindset- should send a signal to other sports travelling down that well-trodden path oblivious to the fact that they could be falling into potholes.

We have entered the new abnormal where one has come to expect the unexpected. Where one needs to change to be relevant and make the time to understand the mood out there and what clicks with today’s consumer, especially those online and looking for answers.

For marketers, there’s no Them and Us. We’re all in this together- and wherever “this” moving target is going on any given day.

By now, everything that’s needed to be said about that memorable final Test match between India and Australia has been said. It has occupied the Twitter crease for days. And why not?

That match, and everything leading up to this match, and the record breaking win by a depleted Indian team, will one day be made into a movie. It’s probably already a Bollywood musical in production.

None of this, however, will outdo the real life excitement and drama and twists and turns that took place for five days in Brisbane earlier this week at Australia’s “Fortress Gabba”.

With their win, this magnificently talented ragtag team of many not-ready-for-Primetime players from India threw down the gauntlet to the cricketing world and forced more change to a sport that has already completely reinvented itself.

Without knowing it, they have also won hearts and minds and created such excitement and talk- not only on social media- that they should make every sport look at what was achieved and how it’s very probably changed the sporting landscape forever.

By now, none of us should be surprised at all by the curve balls and bouncers that life throws our way. But like Cheteshwar Pujara did in that memorable example of resistance despite everything hurled his way, and the intelligence of Alinkina Rahane, who stepped into the big shoes of Virat Kohli to be India’s makeshift captain, one ducks and dives, takes the blows and changes the narrative. It’s the inspiration needed for those new and suddenly in the middle of the field to rise to the occasion and make the most of their opportunity.

Watching tremendously exciting young talent like Shuban Gill, Washington Sundar, Risharbh Pant, Mohammed Siraj and Sarjul Thakur take on the ferocious and more experienced Australian pace attack, tire them out and, more importantly, take them on mentally, made more their win even more interesting viewing for audiences.

It showed psychology at the crease and at play. It showed mental resolve. It was the inspiration some of us needed. It was a much needed break from 24/7 news channels looking for Gotcha Moments of diversity mixed with fear.

Personally, and as someone who follows sport, other than cricket having moved so far away from slow-moving five day Test matches by introducing shortened versions of the game like the T20, the Big Bash, underlining the popularity of talent in women’s cricket today and a generation of new players- charismatic and exciting young players to a new and young audience- it’s how cricket has embraced technology.

Yes, there are the experienced hosts and commentators- knowledgable and entertaining commentators.

There are also new innovations like edutational graphics that explain the game and the skills of those out there in the middle. It’s breathed new life into those five day Test matches. And all this “new stuff” has caught the imagination and interest of global brands and local sponsors.

Who would have thought that some cricketers might have fan followings as big as Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Renaldo and Hollywood megastars? But a player like Virat Kohli, below, does. So does MS Dohni. Suddenly and overnight, add Risharbh Pant to this list.

Another thing: Despite a completely new wagering landscape that means having an interest in every ball bowled, unlike a certain other sporting pastime, nothing crumbles into recycling the same old same old into more of the same old same old for the same same old same old.

It’s not as a female friend who knows her way around common sense and what’s needed describes as “blokey bullsh**”. Exchanging this blokey bullsh**” to each other pretty much falls on deaf ears. It’s been falling on deaf ears for decades.

The problem is that those who should be making changes to stop this vapidity are not the solution. They cannot read the tea leaves and refuse to switch on the hearing aids.

Here lies the real bubble. Here lies a moving target that’s been stalled for years through cosmetic changes and blinkered thinking.

#Cricket #IndiavsAustralia #Gabba #pujara #rahane #pant #kohli #resilience #mindset #movingforward #boysclub #reboot