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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mavericks trounce Unilever Asia to inch up the points table

(In the absence of regular reporter Chris Myers at the ground today, I will be stepping in to write the match report.)

Today, Mediacom Mavericks took up their home game against Unilever Asia. Not much of a compliment, but the two teams are at the bottom of the tables in Incorp2 League and it would have been nice of us to win this one, just to inch ahead of the bottom slot.

In the absence of our regular skippers, Kishan Khatri went in for the toss, summarily lost it and we were set to chase, which was the option we were anyway hoping to opt for.

Before the game started, both teams lined up on the pitch, we put out a bat, and observed 2 minutes of silent prayer, as a mark of respect for Phil Hughes.

Our bowling had a solid, if not an exciting start, giving away only 12 runs in five overs shared by Kapil Tuli and Kishan Khatri. Then Kishan had a bad over followed by a couple more from others. Just as it looked like our good start was going to be squandered away, Tirthman, a.k.a T-Man and Kamal stuck in quick succession to quickly pick 4 wickets, one of which was concluded through a good catch at mid-on by Venkat.

CSC ground in it's green glory

Just as we were going into the drinks break, Annemarie was introduced, and she managed to get the batsmen to miscue one to fine leg, where yours truly, very nervously, latched on to his first catch of Incorp League. As per eye witnesses, I was trembling as the ball approached and my legs gave away in joy after holding on to the ball, ensuing in all round hilarity and relief in the Mavericks camp.

Going into the drinks break, by which time, we were fashionably late on the over-rate, we had reduced Unilever Asia to 65 for 5. It seemed that there was a distinct possibility of chasing something just over 100.

Those hopes were dashed two overs into second hour, when Dushyant Singh, a.k.a Dash, our energetic fast bowler, had a disaster of an over, so bad, that we accepted the choice of replacing him after the penalty of 3 illegitimate balls. The infamous over perhaps had around 10 wides and no-balls.

Kishan and Surendra stitched together a 50+ opening partnership

Despite that setback, we continued to take wickets, one of which was the result of a smart throw by Dash himself, who was looking to redeem his day. Kapil uprooted the off-stump of the number 10 batsman and soon after we had them all back in the pavilion for 122, with the fall of wickets allowing us to complete the innings in time. (I leave it as a homework for the avid reader to find the penalty in the League for ending the innings late.)

We started our innings through Surendra and Kishan, both of whom looked solid. They rode out the first ten overs, got us to the 50 run mark for no loss by the 12th over. It seemed we had a good chance by then.

Wickets fell in quick succession around the drinks break

But as is Mavericks habit in 2014, we committed semi-suicide, losing 4 wickets in quick succession, either side of the drinks break, while also freezing up on the run scoring. It looked like a win might be slipping out of our hand. Just then, Kapil and T-man got together to score a nice partnership. By the 21st over, while they were still batting, the required run rate inched up over 5, but T-man quickly clobbered 2 sixes, and followed it up with another six a couple of overs later, to relieve any pressure building up on the chase. Together they took us to scores level.

Mavericks taking it easy as we were coasting along

While we should have closed it just then, there was yet another twist in the tale, with T-Man holing out to mid-wicket, then Kapil and Venkat following in quick succession, all while we were just a run away from victory.

T-Man getting out

Eventually, yours truly, who wasn't expecting to go into bat, had to quickly pad up and run in. In the first ball I scored, an inside edge travelled behind stumps beyond the keeper and Annemarie and I quickly crossed over to complete the formalities.

It isn't often that Mediacom Mavericks has had a favorable day at the on-field in 2014, but today was an all-round good show from the team. The bowling was mostly disciplined, the fielding acceptable, and the batting mature.

The heroes of the day were T-Man, Annemarie, Kapil and Kamal with the ball, and Kishan, Surendra, T-Man and Kapil with the bat, with T-Man perhaps worthy of Player Of The Day, with 4 wickets and 35 runs.

The team now looks forward to completing the season on a high note and the final outing on Dec 6. Please join us at the CSC for some more exciting Cricket action.

Monday, September 01, 2014

MediaCom Mavericks vs IBM

(The following is a writeup by Chris Myers on the match past weekend. Copying verbatim. For a context, we planned to raise money through the match and the later part of the article mentions that.)

A damp pitch greeted the Mavericks for an 8am start at the India Association Cricket Ground. Boosted by the return of Anshuman Priorat, there was a renewed edge to the Mavericks pre-game demeanour. This was a team that refused to be intimidated by an opposition whose pre-game warm-up didn’t consist of phoning members of their team who still hadn’t turned up 5 minutes before the game was due to start.

The toss was lost by skipper Aditya Madhavan but it was a good toss to lose. A damp outfield was surely going to slow the ball and prevent the flow of runs; so it proved. A very tight opening spell of bowling by lead strike bowler Kapil Tuli and Ansuman meant the game was still in the balance at 82-0 after 17 overs despite the opposition not having lost a wicket. This is the Mavericks though – the less said about dropped catches during those first 17 overs the better. Zero dollars raised for charity.

Post drinks however, the Mavericks stormed into life with their best spell of the match. Persistence paid off for Anshuman as he took out the opener’s leg stump…first dollars in the bank. 2 overs later Kapil Tuli removed the other opener (caught and bowled) and when Anshuman trapped the #4 cheaply in the next, the Mavericks smelt blood. What followed will surely go down as one of the greatest moments in cricketing, and MediaCom, history. The clear remaining danger was IBM #3 Murund Asuri who’d effortlessly cruised to 21 off 18 balls and was threating to open up. His bravado however stretched to testing Chris Myers agility and arm at long-on. A floating ball dropped just short of Myers, Asuri opted to try for the second run, Myers flew in from the boundary picking up the ball in one fluid motion with the grace, yet deceptive power, of a prima ballerina then, calculating at the speed of IBM’s own Watson super computer, threw the ball a prodigious distance over the non-strikers end straight into wicket keeper Surendra Chebrolu ’s gloves who promptly took off the bails. Out! Out! Out! One can only imagine the immeasurable drain this unfathomable moment of brilliance must have taken out of Myers’ body which surely explains why he went down crying like a baby 2 overs later with a pulled Hamstring and was forced to bat #11.

Kamal Oberoi took one more wicket leaving the visitors finishing on 171-5 off 30 overs. A good score but not an insurmountable one. Most importantly - $293 dollars raised .

Samosas and chai consumed, openers Aditya Madhavan and Surendra Chebrolu took to the field to lead MediaCom’s response with the bat. A solid start was made, most notable for the performance of Surendra who moments after being struck on the cheekbone by a vicious delivery, hooked a head height delivery from the quicker bowler at the other end for 6. With each run worth $3.60, this one shot was worth $21.60. When Aditya was unluckily out to an unpredictable rising ball, hope still remained with talent still to come. Matt Wigham looked good before being stumped as did Kishan Khatri who departed after a couple of lusty blows that kept the scorecard moving. Mavericks wickets were continuing to fall however and when Kamal Oberoi, fresh from a rapid 40 the week before, departed in the 16th over, the Mavericks were no longer playing to win the game but to get what they could for charity. The hero of the day with the bat was clearly Surendra who top-scored with a brave 32. Your innings was worth $115. Well done.

The Mavericks tail did wag however with some double figures contributions from Tirth Mann (10) and Shreeniwas Iyer (13*). The game ended with the debacle of Myers limping to the crease to share an unbroken 5 run partnership with Shreeniwas that basically consisted of hopping, falling over, and the opposition looking embarrassed.

The Mavericks closed on 116-9 - $418 dollars raised. We lost the game by 55 runs.

Including side bets, the grand total raised was $730.

On behalf of all the Mavericks, I’d like to express our apologies for not only failing to win the game but also for not being able to squeeze out even one more run or wicket. Of course we could have played better, but we did our best. Through the highs and the lows, it was an honour to stand by my team mates representing our company, playing the game we love, doing our small part for charity. Our search for a victory continues. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.

I will leave a box at MediaCom reception from 9-5 every day for you to put your donation into. I’ll leave it there for the next two weeks. I have no right to ask, but if anyone wants to put any additional money in the box beyond what you committed to pay, please feel free. Once all donations are collected, I will make the total donation through Singapore Gives website letting you know the final amount.

On behalf of the MediaCom Mavericks, Thank you once more!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

India squanders leads abroad more often than not

Since Ganguly as captain, India have taken the lead in test series in Australia, SA, NZ and England 6 times and squandered it immediately in the following test match 4 times:

India in Zimbabwe Test Series, 2001
India in West Indies Test Series, 2002
Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2003/04
India in South Africa Test Series, 2006/07

2 times they have survived draws:

Pataudi Trophy, 2007
    - Real exception
    - India draws 3rd test after going 1-0 up in second test
India in New Zealand Test Series, 2008/09
    India follow on but survive a draw in 2nd test after winning first test

2 other times they have won in these 4 countries, they have done so after coming from behind:

India in England Test Series, 2002
    India win 3rd test to level series and then secure a honorable draw in the final test.
Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2007/08
    India get Consolation win 3rd test after losing series 2-0.
India in South Africa Test Series, 2010/11
    India win 2nd test to level series and hold on to good draw after 3rd.

Analysis excludes the current series.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Investing with FundSuperMart is a bad idea

I have been building up my investments in Singapore through the Unit-trusts route, which is another name for Mutual Funds. In Singapore, most banks charge you a ridiculous sales fee of anywhere around 4-5% for just letting you buy a mutual fund, and this is MAS sanctioned. On top of this MAS doesn't allow you to reach out to the Fund Manager (Franklin Templeton etc) directly - so you got little choice but to shelve out the sales fee. It is a different matter that most funds don't even earn back that fee in a year - so your money is working hard for the bank and the bankers' fat pay cheques than for you!

That said, POSB/DBS has a special offer where they won't charge you a sales fee if you do a Regular Savings Plan (RSP) through them. This was a boon for investors like me - who didn't have up front capital, but were looking to set aside something every month.

Earlier this year, I explored the idea of investing through FundSuperMart, because in addition to offering the same free RSP offer that POSB/DBS had, they also allowed for a reasonably cheap sales fee for upfront investing (0.5%) and allowed you to switch between funds for free.

So, I moved a good bit of my savings there and placed them into separate funds. I have been monitoring them weekly to see if any re-allocations need to be made and the journey was generally good. Till last week.

Last week, I did my first redemption when one of the funds, based in USD, I was invested in, was up 1.4% and I thought I could be better off re-allocating it. So, I redeemed it on 27th Apr and it was successfully sold on 28th Apr and I was happy to note that the fund was still up 1.4% - so I booked a profit.

By the time the money came into my account yesterday, the amount had reduced to become -1%! I was shocked, and angry. Upon investigation, FSM informed me that only the fund sale had been done on the 28th. The actual Forex conversion to SGD will be done only 5 days later. 5 days later!

So, not only do you carry the market risks and forex risks while you are holding the funds, FSM introduces a further one week forex risk.

As such, investing through FSM is a slow and tedious process where every transaction takes anywhere between 5-8 days to be conducted. On top of this, you also carries the risk of volatility that happens during this period.

And let me tell you, mutual funds don't grow fast enough to make this all worthwhile. I have received suggestions that perhaps ETF, where you can book your transactions during the SGX market hours, and incur lower charges is perhaps a better idea.

This episode has thought me my lessons. Even if I want to play the funds investment game, I am perhaps better off with a responsive and fast player than FSM, which is just way too slow and introduces further risks due to the slow speed.

Administrative note

All tech posts have now moved to http://tech.shreeni.info or you may subscribe to its RSS feed. In due course, I shall be moving it out completely, so if you follow my tech posts, please shift to following that blog.