It wasn’t news to me, that South Africans are as cricket crazy as us Indians are. I’ve noticed cricket being the subject of many offline conversations, while waiting in the audio bridge for everyone to join in, during scheduled audio conferences that were truly global in my work environment.
But the problem is, whenever some South African tried to pick up a conversation with me, being an obvious foreigner here in Pretoria, I had difficulty explaining that I wasn’t part of that majority Indians whose religion was cricket and hence I couldn’t continue that conversation that had the good intention of striking a firendship. So, in many such instances, I noticed myself being perceived as someone aloof by the other person. That could be true, but normally I wouldn’t allow that to happen, had the subject been somethingelse that I was equally knowledgeable in (Say the stock markets).
So, I used to respond without really adding to the conversation, but, just by encouraging the other person to continue talking, by nodding my head, or by just keeping on saying ‘Yes’ or ‘Yeah’ or the Afrikaan that I have just started picking, ‘Ye….’, so that the ‘conversation’ doesn’t stop. I was pleasantly surprised to realize how good a technique this was, until I started doing this with every person who started talking cricket to me in Pretoria.
Though I don’t want to generalize, most of the guys I talked to in Pretoria, (Or is it the same everywhere?) were so good talking that they continued with (often wihout) all my prompts I referred earlier and enjoyed what I thought was a soliloquy or what they thought was a conversation. I have no reason to complain, as I was the culprit. I seriously doubt whether many of them noticed what a naivete I was, while talking cricket.
It would start with my very friendly taxi guy, Hennie, whom I wouldn’t call a driver, as I am told he was running many businesses like a Motor car franchise, a Petrol station franchise, et al and who had also happened to be selling BMWs earier in his life, but who, of late, has settled to making a living taxiing people visiting Pretoria. The moment I get in his car, he would start talking cricket.
And will continue with the colleagues I meet in office, who anyway will be talking of cricket whether I am there or not. Since I was there, the subject will be Indian cricket team and the latest match that India had just played or about to play next. By now, South Africa was already out of the tournament.
And will continue in the bars in the evening.
And come back to the hotel to retire, the guy at the reception wouldn’t hand over the key without making a comment about the latest match.
So, it was in this background that I chose to watch the World Cup Finals that India played against Sri Lanka.
Coming to think of it, this was the first cricket match that I ever watched from the start to the finish. It surprised myself how I could have done this, because I don’t even go to movies frequently, as I can’t sit continuously for a couple of hours concentrating on the storyline.
But I had no other go, as the only friend that I picked up in this trip, who was also staying in the same hotel as I was, had just left that Saturday for USA.
He was another twist to this story, in that he is a Filipino who is settled in USA and he doesn’t understand cricket. May be we became friends because we both were non-believers in cricket. He always fancied bigger balls. I meant Rugby. Honestly. At the bars, while someone in the next table is seriously saying something about cricket to me, he would be busy watching the bigger balls. Again I meant Rugby. Honest.
So, I had to settle for watching the World Cup finals.
I have to admit one thing. Though I don’t take cricket seriously (Or rather have not taken cricket seriuosly so far), I do understand the game and its nuances. I have two girls at home, one who is gracious enough to remain married to me, in spite of me being me and the other, who was born because the first one did so. These two girls are cricket crazy and their conversations during any match or during the dinner together subsequently (whenever there is a match, we always end up having a dinner together at a restaurant. Cricket brings families together I would say) have helped me get enlightened about cricket.
But once I settled to watch cricket at a Sports bar in Pretoria ( My total concentration was in the match. I was having my eighth Heineken when Dhoni hit that sixer that clinched India’s victory) I realized what a final it was.
Earlier, everyone in South Africa that engaged me in a cricket conversation were damn sure India would win. Because of this ‘indoctrination’ I believed it when I sat for watching the finals. And it was confirmed by how the game was, when Sri Lanka was batting the initial overs before Jayawardene. Then I remember (I was concentrated, remember?) Jeyawardane hitting too many Fours & Sixes at the last 10 – 15 overs that had me blinking. Would India really win such an onslaught?
This doubt was confirmed again during the initial overs that India was batting, that had Sehwag ducked out and Sachin caught. Sehwag ducked out? Shock. Followed by Sachin caught? I seriously thought whether I should continue watching. Then I realized I can’t face any guys back in office who would want to know whether I watched. Leave alone office guys, I can’t face Hennie who takes me to office, who would definitely say something about this match and I would have to respond. I decided to sit it out, ordering my 4th Heineken.
All along, Gambhir was doing great. Then came Dhoni. Wow ! What a game it turned out subsequently !
I was so absorbed, that I realized later, this game had so many lessons for anyone willing to ponder. I was seriously thinking of the take aways that I could use in my trading.
# Life is not won by fours and sixes but by the slow & steady singles.
Without getting caught or bowled over that is. I recall frequently comparing the then current run rate vis-a-vis the required run rate. The former was always less than the later for the most part of the game. There were not any sixes at all, by Indians that is, till the fag end of the game.
But the fact is, Dhoni & many others (but not all) played solidly, concentrating on staying in the game, at the same time scoring singles & twos whenever possible, with an occasional four. Possible that it was those fours & sixes that helped win, but to score those fours & sixes, one had to stay in the game, settling for a single, or even none sometimes.
Take away: If I am trading, I should aim to focus on staying in the game as long as possible, trying to make an occasional profit with as low a risk as possible, but try to earn more only when the situation warrants it with the basic objective of NOT LOOSING THE CAPITAL. You can’t try hitting a six everytime, without risking getting caught, remember? Even a naivete like me would know, you can’t score, if you get caught.
# When there is a low risk opportunity, you MUST TAKE IT.
Remember the last ball, that Dhoni hit the sixer on? What did Dhoni risk? Getting caught. But then, why did he do it? He might be out, but the team had enough wickets left, to survive the left over overs. The difference then was easy to risk. But, the catch is, we must risk taking those opportunities. Like Dhoni did. That clinched India’s victory.
Suddenly, I recall reading something from ‘Enhancing Trader Performance’ by Dr Brett Steenbarger:
Take it slow. Take it steady. Become competent, then expert. Don’t become a casualty.