This statement is perhaps one of the most repeated statements of the top-commentators of cricket after they have seen something that they have never seen before. I can tell you that at sometime or the other, someone must have seen the following events happen and felt a reaction as mentioned.
1) Greg Chappell asking his brother to bowl underarm to the New Zealand batsman to prevent a six from being hit, in the 1991 tri-series finals. People must have felt – “This shows the level to which players can actually fall too, in order to win”
2) Kapil Dev's amazing knock against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World cup, an amazing 175 runs of a mere 183 balls. Those who saw this knock must have thought - “Never think that the game is over until it is over, never”
3) Pakistan's win in the 1992World cup, making it the second Asian Team to win the World Cup. “After India, now Pakistan. The Asians are surely taking the world by storm in Cricket” would have been the reaction.
4) The outburst at Eden Gardens during the India-SL semi-finals at the 1996 World Cup. “The crowd, especially from the sub-continent, is going to play a major role in shaping world cricket and shifting the balance of powers”, someone must have commented.
5) Sri Lanka winning the 1996 World Cup, and introducing the ploy of attacking during the first 15 overs of the game. “Wow! With batsmen like Jayasuriya opening the innings, the new bowl bowlers will face a new challenge” an expert must have thought.
6) India defeating Australia at the Kolkata test in 2001 thanks to Harbhajan’s and Laxman’s efforts. “Even the giants can be slayed mercilessly by Tigers in their own backyard. Australia is not invincible, no more” someone must have rejoiced.
7) England defeating Australia in the 2005 Ashes series, following some great English efforts. “No team can dominate the sport for long.” This defeat started the slow, but painful slide for the Australian team in all forms of cricket.
May be there are many more such events in Cricketing history that could have warranted a comment as such as this: “Cricket is never going to be the same again”. I have been following the sport on-and-off, so I do not have much idea.
But then the last ODI (4th ODI between India and Sri Lanka at Kolkata in 2009) was something that made my head turn and notice. I noticed a stark change in the attitudes of the players while chasing what was once considered a once-huge score, of 316. The ease with which the runs were scored, the confidence of Gambhir and Kohli to take up the responsibility and make sure India wins the match, the way in which the bowlers were content in giving “just 6 runs per over” – all these signaled to me the very same words, that the sport is changing and changing fast. 300 is the new 200. 400 is the new 300. And it has been just 7-8 years in the making.
Truly, Cricket is never going to be the same again... At least, not for me…