What Value Investors Can Learn From India's Best Batsmen

The second you see the title of this piece you may think I’ve been hit in the head, because on the face of it, what in the world would Indian Cricket and Indian batsmen have to do with investing?

Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will be able to see the method behind my apparent madness. I strongly believe that value investors can learn one distinct quality from each of these great Indian batsmen (both past and present) I am about to highlight going forward in this piece. So, let’s get started:

Sachin Tendulkar: Just the utterance of this name brings back a plethora of exhilarating memories from the good old days of Indian Cricket. The success that the living legend has achieved is only matched by the unbridled joy that one man has given to a billion.

But, if I could put his success down to one factor, it would be humility. And that is exactly what value investors should learn from Sachin Tendulkar. Yes, talent, skill and hard work do help you out as a value investor, but they only take one so far. Being humble from day one and not giving up on humility brings greater success because it helps one to deal with failures (which are inevitable over the course of an investment career) better, and learn from the failures faster than others.

Murali Vijay: I know this name doesn’t inspire the same level of confidence as the last one, and I also accept that he wasn’t in the greatest of touch on the recent test tour of South Africa, but there is a very important thing that value investors can learn from Murali Vijay.

At his best, Murali Vijay is one of the best at leaving those iffy balls delivered outside his off stump at the beginning of an innings. So if he isn’t confident about playing those balls, he just says no to them.

Now, to the investing analogy. The iffy balls delivered outside the off stump are nothing but the thousands of stock picks and ideas we come across in a world dominated by a number of business news channels and social media platforms. Now, we as investors sometimes buy into a business just because it looks tempting, without fully understanding the fundamentals of the business, and we invariably loose out in the long term. That would be like playing at a ball outside the off stump, edging it and getting out. So the next time you see a tempting business which you don’t fully understand, in the name of Murali Vijay, just say no.

Rahul Dravid: Calling this colossus ‘The Wall’, is not an overstatement of his abilities. When this man came to the crease, bowlers had a better chance of sighting aliens than getting him out. Why? Patience, discipline and the willingness to occupy the crease.

Now for the investment analogy. As a value investor, opportunities don’t come knocking on a conveyor belt everyday. Talk to the best value investors and they will tell you that they come up with one idea a year. Sometimes even one idea in two years. Therefore, it is important to stay patient and disciplined until the right idea finally comes along. And taking these opportunities is possible only when you don’t expect instant gratification and play the game for the long haul.

Ajinkya Rahane: This man goes my many nicknames. Ajju, Jinks and so on. But the name Ajinkya (which means invincible) is classic, just like the man is. There is a recurring theme to every one of his best innings. Textbook shots elegantly played. Ajinkya Rahane has chosen his style and stayed true to it.

That is exactly what value investors have to learn. Once one has chosen to be a value investor, stay true to the style. Value investors are sometimes quick to change their ways because they feel results are not forthcoming in the first few years. But it goes without saying that value investing only produces the best results over the long term, because being a value investor requires one to be a contrarian. Being a contrarian and instant gratification can never go together. Those who stay true to value investing for long enough will see that their performance leaves the others far behind.

Virat Kohli: One of the current stars of the Indian batting lineup. While his brash arrogance and over the top aggression seldom set the best example, his ability to adapt to the situation in an innings, and his conviction in his own abilities takes some beating. Virat is perfectly happy to keep the strike rotating and play himself in when the chips are down, and when the time comes to play his shots he takes absolutely no half measures.

Adaptability and conviction are things that every value investor can learn from Virat Kohli. Equity markets are a dynamic place where no two days are seldom the same. Investors must learn to adapt themselves to changing market contexts and circumstances, and when the odds are in their favour, act with unwavering conviction.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Honest confession. I am a huge, huge fan of Captain Cool, so I am going to take the liberty to unapologetically gush about him in the next few lines. Put this man in a pressure situation, and the pressure is on the opposing team and not this man. In fact, the more pressure you put the man under, the better he becomes. Here’s his secret. The ability to maintain absolute calm and equanimity (which means composure) under pressure, by not thinking about the situation.

This is something every investor must remember and adhere to in situations where there are sudden, sharp sell offs, market crashes and prolonged bear markets. Doing so would help us value investors to keep calm and spot the golden opportunities in the midst of all the chaos. Remember that we all have a life outside of the markets (I need to teach this to myself first :wink: ) and to not focus too much on what’s happening with our portfolios.

Well, that’s that for this piece. Hope you enjoy reading it and that this piece appeals to both the cricket fan and the investor inside you.


@Akshay_Nayak Very well articulated!

Great parallels drawn. Totally agree.

Leaving the iffy deliveries outside the off-stump and its adaptation to stock markets is the key to whatever limited success I ve had in my investing career.

This is exactly what Warren E Buffett professes. Good test match batsmen type temprament can take u to great heights in Stk Mkts.