“And That’s Why I Don’t Invest In Stocks”: Isa Guha

During the match between England and Pakistan Isa Guha made a statement that she does not invest in stocks because of the risk involved. This had to do with the reputation of Pakistan being highly unpredictable in cricket. We saw this in the England and Pakistan Series. I believe that Isa Guha is one of the best commentators in cricket across all formats. Her balance between her technical analysis and how she clearly explains it makes her a joy to listen to. She brings in the smoothness of Harsha Bhogle with the expertise of Michael Holding. She is on par with Kumar Sangakkara in the way she thinks and had brought about some much-needed diversity into the Sky Cricket commentary team. She is significantly better than most of the commentators in the current World Cup. I am not surprised by this and I will have no hesitation to say that she would be a better equity portfolio manager than most of the existing lot. She is an opening bowler which requires her to get the balance of being aggressive and defensive as fast as possible. She had to read the conditions. This would involve everything from the strength and weaknesses of players to the weather and pitch conditions. She got into cricket when she was eight years but more importantly, she knew when to get out. This is the hardest part. Convincing yourself and others to get out of shares or funds that have been doing well and are expected to do well is extremely hard. I remember a meeting between two relationship managers where one was taking over from the other. The new manager was pushing for a frontier market fund while the other one was trying to calm things down. It was an interesting meeting and both those managers became people whose opinions I deeply valued. You can’t blame Isa for not backing Pakistan. It would be a high-risk strategy where the payout would not be worth it.

If there ever was a case of “Past performance does not guarantee future results” then it is applicable to Pakistan. They will be ruing their performance of their first match against West Indies. They failed to qualify on the basis of net run rate. It was a disappointing way to end the tournament. Parallels have been drawn between the performance of Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup and in this World Cup. People have even referred it to as “spooky.” The comparison of both the teams are below

Courtesy of Sky Sports.

They won their eight and ninth match too. They will have to wonder what would have happened if they had to win by a bigger margin against Afghanistan or lose by a smaller margin. However, winning against Afghanistan was better than them losing that game which is something that could have easily happened. My mantra in investments is that we should know how to separate the music from the noise. It was not as easy when I started out in the world of finance 15 years back and it is more difficult now with all the deluge of information that keeps flooding the internet. The trend above is accurate but irrelevant to a large extent. The fact of the matter is that they did not bat or bowl to standard. Mohammad Amir was the third highest wicket-taker after the group stages but Shaheen Afridi who bowled well was probably heavily underused. The probability of Pakistan making it into the top four was highly unlikely especially as the highest score in the tournament so far has been 397/6. At one stage they did look like they would have got close to the 400 mark but the wickets started to fall just as they were looking good and ended up getting 315 instead of 350+. This meant that Pakistan needed to bowl out Bangladesh for under eight. This was achieved with ease. Micky Arthur has built this team really well and it is a team for the future. Two things should happen if Pakistan should become even better than what they are. Sadly both of these are political in nature and are unlikely to happen soon. The first is that Pakistan should start playing in Pakistan again. The second is that India and Pakistan should start playing each other hopefully in time for the second World Test Championship.

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