Being from Sri Lanka, when I was a kid, cricket was gospel.
From the moment my dad handed me a cricket bat and ball, I would roam the streets looking for friends to start a match with, which wasn’t hard as the country is engulfed with cricket fanatics.
When I came to Australia in 1994, the first thing dad did was find me a local cricket club to make the transition easier. Back then, there were two types of cricket, traditional test matches and ‘one dayers’.
Test matches were, and still are played over five days and based on two innings per side, played between around 9am and 6pm. Believe it or not, they can, and often do end up in a draw. Yes! After five days, there is sometimes no real winner.
The so-called ‘new kid on the block’ was one day cricket (started in 1971), and aptly named for the fact that a result occurred within the day. It’s a far more structured game, based each side having a turn across an eight hour day, which ensured that there was rarely a draw.
Fast forward, and we now have the Big Bash cricket here in Australia and the IPL, which is huge in the subcontinent. This has further narrowed the game to 3-4 hours, with a fast-paced, no holds style gameplay. It’s more of a show, and to be honest, it’s more fun.
If the transition of a sport from five days down to three hours over the last 50 or so years isn’t a sign of our change in attention span, I don’t know what is. Increasingly, in life, we are seeking out the short, exciting things to give us that hit of instant gratification.
So what’s the connection with cricket and property?
When I was playing cricket, it was a mix of one or two day games played over the weekend. Most of the time, I was plonked onto a corner of the field, with not much impact.
I sometimes missed what happened, I sometimes got bored, and I was definitely hungry throughout most of the day. I was either fielding or waiting to bat, with the odd occasion of very poorly pretending to be Shane Warne.
The days were long, tedious, mildly fun, and generally slow. It was a game that taught you to focus over a long period of time, and accept that some days you may have no impact on the game’s outcome.
I’m not as passionate about the game as I once was, (sorry Dad!), but this was the cricket I grew up with, and it’s exactly the game you want to play with property. Property, much like a test match, is the marathon of asset classes. Some years, you won’t see much change, some years you may even forget it’s there, but over the long run, the game (and the property) provides you with immense personal and financial value when done correctly. It’s about being strategic, but also appreciating the game for what it is, patience. My advice, be the boring, test match property player, and you’ll come out on top.