Last 20 Years: Sachin and the Indian Entrepreneur

Much has been written about the relation between Sachin and Sensex. In a cricket-crazy country, it has often happened that when Sachin hit a century, markets bounced without a business context justifying the jump. Others have smartly pointed how Sensex had been tracking Sachin.Most of it sounds like a forced comparison, because just like stock prices of different periods, there is really no pattern or rhythm between Sensex and Tendulkar’s statistics. One is a fluctuating index and the other is a non-decreasing, accumulative score. Also, while 2003-06 was the worst time for Sachin, Sensex was touching new highs. However, if something has brought joy and relief to millions of Indians in last two decades, it has been either Sachin Tendulkar’s innings or the fast growth of Indian economy.
There is a lot of commonality in Sachin’s genius and the character of modern Indian entrepreneurs like Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, Kishore Biyani, etc.Around 20 years ago, Sachin started his career and P. V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh opened the floodgates of the Indian economy to outsiders. Both Little Master and the Post-Liberalization Indian economy haven’t looked back since then. We have been disillusioned with both for brief periods, but after 20 years, we are still very excited about them. Especially last two years have been unbelievable for both.Just like our modern economic history is classified in pre-liberalization and post-liberalization eras, Indian cricket has pre-Sachin and post-Sachin eras. When Kapil Dev handed over the secret of his energy to Sachin in the Boost ad, big business families were handing over the baton to software entrepreneurs.Sachin fought many of the battles all alone, with the rest of the team collapsing under attack. With billion expectations on his back, he did not falter or lose his focus when match-fixing scandal broke loose.
Similarly, Infosys, Wipro or Biyani did not back down in a hostile environment, fighting the inertia and corruption of Indian beareucratic and political system.Sachin was already breaking records when the future crop of Indian cricket was a bunch of tiny saplings. Youngsters like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina were growing up on Sachin’s cricket, drawing inspiration from each boundary. Similarly, young students were listening to the million-dollar fables of Infosys employees and weaving the entrepreneurial Indian dream.These inspired young cricketers have ensured that Indian cricket no longer depends on Sachin and they are capable of winning tournaments on their own. Similarly, the young Indian entrepreneurial machinery is running on full throttle and Young Turks are ready to take over.With more and more media scrutiny and involvement of private capital (IPL), Indian cricket selection has become more transparent and accountable. And the same could be said about the Indian business.No one really knows what 2011 has in store for us. But a nation of billion plus is definitely praying for two things:
1.Sachin leads India to a world cup victory, despite his age and jinxes.
2.Markets and the Indian business continue to soar high, despite all the corruption and scandals.

[The article has been contributed by Adheesh Sharma. He is an investment professional and a CFA charter holder.]

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