Five lessons from the historic India-Australia test series

If you are a fan of Cricket, I don't need to use any superlative hyperboles to describe India's test series win in Australia. If you are not, the TL:DR is that the men's cricket team of India, against all odds, beat Australia 2-1 in their own backyard creating history!

Cricket is the most unique sport in the world where three different formats, i.e. Five day format which is the Test match, One day format and T20's manage to co-exist and given the sharp decline in viewership, the future of test matches is always in question. Well, this series squashed those fears! Fans witnessed an unforgettable theatre of the game at it's finest. While the series has been analyzed in great detail by the experts, I wanted to share five obvious lessons I took away from this historic series:

Have a plan but don't forget to execute!!!

India played 75% of the test series without the service of its captain and one of best batsman in the world, Virat Kohli. Their top bowlers fell to injuries one after another and they were forced to field a bowling line up with only 11 wickets between them as opposed to the Australian line-up with over 1,000 wickets collectively. India had no chance of winning the series and even worse, an extremely high chance of losing. However, the players and team management remain unfazed and showed their depth of planning. They made calculated selection decisions for each match like starting Washington Sundar instead of the more experienced Kuldeep Yadav in the fourth test. The players responded by executing flawlessly and creating history in the process.

When you fail, don't overanalyze

India's series could not have started on more disastrous note. The batting lineup skittled for their lowest ever test score, i.e. 36 runs only. The temptation to analyze the collapse from every angle would have been extremely high. However, as the stand-in captain, Ajinkya Rahane put it, they did not discuss the poor performance in the first test. The team trusted their plan, moved forward and came back roaring in the boxing day test.

Diversity = Stronger Outcomes

We know that diverse teams drive stronger outcomes and it was on full display throughout the test series. Amongst the various examples, the batting partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant perfectly demonstrated this strength of the team. While Pujara resolutely absorbed 1,000 deliveries from the Australian bowlers and denied them a chance to run through India's batting, Pant took the Australian attack on and became the first Asian under 23 years of age to score 500+ runs in a test series in their own backyard. They had the support from India's team management to play their natural game, express themselves freely and the results more than justified the decision.

If you see something, say something. In real time

While the test series was played in great spirit, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah were dished out racial abuse from a few spectators in the crowd. What followed is a solid template on handling racism. The incident was reported by the players to their captain and umpire and the play was stopped. The match officials chatted with the police and spectators involved in the incident were tossed out of the stadium. I admire Siraj's courage to ensure that this ugly episode is dealt with on the spot, setting an example on how racism in sports should be handled.

Not winning <> Losing

The unique aspect of test match cricket is there is a possibility of no side winning after five days of playing. While this may seem stunning, isn't that life? India and Australia drew the third test match of the series and the results exemplified how closely fought the game was. Both sides were equally strong and the fact that neither side won justified that life is not a game. It is a series of ups and downs and what matters more is "living" as opposed to simply "winning" or "losing."


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