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Apple Reports Third Quarter Results

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WEX Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul 30, 2020–

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 third quarter ended June 27, 2020. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $59.7 billion, an increase of 11 percent from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.58, up 18 percent. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Apple’s record June quarter was driven by double-digit growth in both Products and Services and growth in each of our geographic segments,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “In uncertain times, this performance is a testament to the important role our products play in our customers’ lives and to Apple’s relentless innovation. This is a challenging moment for our communities, and, from Apple’s new $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to a new commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, we’re living the principle that what we make and do should create opportunity and leave the world better than we found it.”

“Our June quarter performance was strong evidence of Apple’s ability to innovate and execute during challenging times,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “The record business results drove our active installed base of devices to an all-time high in all of our geographic segments and all major product categories. We grew EPS by 18 percent and generated operating cash flow of $16.3 billion during the quarter, a June quarter record for both metrics.”

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.82 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on August 13, 2020 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 10, 2020.

The Board of Directors has also approved a four-for-one stock split to make the stock more accessible to a broader base of investors. Each Apple shareholder of record at the close of business on August 24, 2020 will receive three additional shares for every share held on the record date, and trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on August 31, 2020.

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q3 2020 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PT on July 30, 2020 at apple.com/investor/earnings-call/. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

Apple periodically provides information for investors on its corporate website, apple.com, and its investor relations website, investor.apple.com. This includes press releases and other information about financial performance, reports filed or furnished with the SEC, information on corporate governance, and details related to its annual meeting of shareholders.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include without limitation those about the Company’s expectations regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; anticipated revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, other income/(expense), and tax rate; plans for return of capital; the four-for-one stock split; and the commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation: the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition, and stock price; the effect of global and regional economic conditions on the Company’s business, including effects on purchasing decisions by consumers and businesses; the ability of the Company to compete in markets that are highly competitive and subject to rapid technological change; the ability of the Company to manage frequent introductions and transitions of products and services, including delivering to the marketplace, and stimulating customer demand for, new products, services, and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that shifts in the mix of products and services and in the geographic, currency, or channel mix, component cost increases, increases in the cost of acquiring and delivering content for the Company’s services, price competition, or the introduction of new products or services, including new products or services with higher cost structures, could have on the Company’s gross margin; the dependency of the Company on the performance of distributors of the Company’s products, including cellular network carriers and other resellers; the risk of write-downs on the value of inventory and other assets and purchase commitment cancellation risk; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components, services, and new technologies essential to the Company’s business, including components and technologies that may only be available from single or limited sources; the dependency of the Company on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties, many of which are located outside of the US and which may affect the quality, quantity, or cost of products manufactured or services rendered to the Company; the effect of product and services design and manufacturing defects on the Company’s financial performance and reputation; the dependency of the Company on third-party intellectual property and digital content, which may not be available to the Company on commercially reasonable terms or at all; the dependency of the Company on support from third-party software developers to develop and maintain software applications and services for the Company’s products; the impact of unfavorable legal proceedings, such as a potential finding that the Company has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the impact of complex and changing laws and regulations worldwide, which expose the Company to potential liabilities, increased costs, and other adverse effects on the Company’s business; the ability of the Company to manage risks associated with the Company’s retail stores; the ability of the Company to manage risks associated with the Company’s investments in new business strategies and acquisitions; the impact on the Company’s business and reputation from information technology system failures, network disruptions, or losses or unauthorized access to, or release of, confidential information; the ability of the Company to comply with laws and regulations regarding data protection; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; political events, international trade disputes, war, terrorism, natural disasters, public health issues, and other business interruptions that could disrupt supply or delivery of, or demand for, the Company’s products; financial risks, including risks relating to currency fluctuations, credit risks, and fluctuations in the market value of the Company’s investment portfolio; and changes in tax rates and exposure to additional tax liabilities. More information on these risks and other potential factors that could affect the Company’s business and financial results is included in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s most recently filed periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and subsequent filings. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information visit Apple Newsroom ( www.apple.com/newsroom ), or call Apple’s Media Helpline at (408) 974-2042.

© 2020 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Apple Inc.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (Unaudited)

(In millions, except number of shares which are reflected in thousands and per share amounts)

Three Months Ended

Nine Months Ended

June 27,
2020

June 29,
2019

June 27,
2020

June 29,
2019

Net sales:

Products

$

46,529

$

42,354

$

170,598

$

162,354

Services

13,156

11,455

39,219

33,780

Total net sales (1)

59,685

53,809

209,817

196,134

Cost of sales:

Products

32,693

29,473

116,089

109,758

Services

4,312

4,109

13,461

12,297

Total cost of sales

37,005

33,582

129,550

122,055

Gross margin

22,680

20,227

80,267

74,079

Operating expenses:

Research and development

4,758

4,257

13,774

12,107

Selling, general and administrative

4,831

4,426

14,980

13,667

Total operating expenses

9,589

8,683

28,754

25,774

Operating income

13,091

11,544

51,513

48,305

Other income/(expense), net

46

367

677

1,305

Income before provision for income taxes

13,137

11,911

52,190

49,610

Provision for income taxes

1,884

1,867

7,452

8,040

Net income

$

11,253

$

10,044

$

44,738

$

41,570

Earnings per share:

Basic

$

2.61

$

2.20

$

10.25

$

8.92

Diluted

$

2.58

$

2.18

$

10.16

$

8.86

Shares used in computing earnings per share:

Basic

4,312,573

4,570,633

4,362,571

4,660,175

Diluted

4,354,788

4,601,380

4,404,695

4,691,759

(1) Net sales by reportable segment:

Americas

$

27,018

$

25,056

$

93,858

$

87,592

Europe

14,173

11,925

51,740

45,342

Greater China

9,329

9,157

32,362

32,544

Japan

4,966

4,082

16,395

16,524

Rest of Asia Pacific

4,199

3,589

15,462

14,132

Total net sales

$

59,685

$

53,809

$

209,817

$

196,134

(1) Net sales by category:

iPhone

$

26,418

$

25,986

$

111,337

$

109,019

Mac

7,079

5,820

19,590

18,749

iPad

6,582

5,023

16,927

16,624

Wearables, Home and Accessories

6,450

5,525

22,744

17,962

Services

13,156

11,455

39,219

33,780

Total net sales

$

59,685

$

53,809

$

209,817

$

196,134

Apple Inc.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited)

(In millions, except number of shares which are reflected in thousands and par value)

June 27,
2020

September 28,
2019

ASSETS:

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

33,383

$

48,844

Marketable securities

59,642

51,713

Accounts receivable, net

17,882

22,926

Inventories

3,978

4,106

Vendor non-trade receivables

14,193

22,878

Other current assets

10,987

12,352

Total current assets

140,065

162,819

Non-current assets:

Marketable securities

100,592

105,341

Property, plant and equipment, net

35,687

37,378

Other non-current assets

41,000

32,978

Total non-current assets

177,279

175,697

Total assets

$

317,344

$

338,516

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

Current liabilities:

Accounts payable

$

35,325

$

46,236

Other current liabilities

35,005

37,720

Deferred revenue

6,313

5,522

Commercial paper and repurchase agreements

11,166

5,980

Term debt

7,509

10,260

Total current liabilities

95,318

105,718

Non-current liabilities:

Term debt

94,048

91,807

Other non-current liabilities

55,696

50,503

Total non-current liabilities

149,744

142,310

Total liabilities

245,062

248,028

Commitments and contingencies

Shareholders’ equity:

Common stock and additional paid-in capital, $0.00001 par value: 12,600,000 shares authorized; 4,283,939 and 4,443,236 shares issued and outstanding, respectively

48,696

45,174

Retained earnings

24,136

45,898

Accumulated other comprehensive income/(loss)

(550)

(584)

Total shareholders’ equity

72,282

90,488

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity

$

317,344

$

338,516

Apple Inc.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (Unaudited)

(In millions)

Nine Months Ended

June 27,
2020

June 29,
2019

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, beginning balances

$

50,224

$

25,913

Operating activities:

Net income

44,738

41,570

Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash generated by operating activities:

Depreciation and amortization

8,354

9,368

Share-based compensation expense

5,105

4,569

Deferred income tax expense/(benefit)

182

(38)

Other

(94)

(340)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

Accounts receivable, net

5,149

9,013

Inventories

10

496

Vendor non-trade receivables

8,685

13,483

Other current and non-current assets

(6,760)

693

Accounts payable

(10,787)

(19,804)

Deferred revenue

1,649

(776)

Other current and non-current liabilities

3,867

(8,753)

Cash generated by operating activities

60,098

49,481

Investing activities:

Purchases of marketable securities

(96,606)

(21,902)

Proceeds from maturities of marketable securities

54,865

26,783

Proceeds from sales of marketable securities

39,760

49,516

Payments for acquisition of property, plant and equipment

(5,525)

(7,718)

Payments made in connection with business acquisitions, net

(1,473)

(611)

Purchases of non-marketable securities

(210)

(632)

Proceeds from non-marketable securities

58

1,526

Other

(689)

(268)

Cash generated by/(used in) investing activities

(9,820)

46,694

Financing activities:

Proceeds from issuance of common stock

430

391

Payments for taxes related to net share settlement of equity awards

(3,234)

(2,626)

Payments for dividends and dividend equivalents

(10,570)

(10,640)

Repurchases of common stock

(55,171)

(49,453)

Proceeds from issuance of term debt, net

10,635

Repayments of term debt

(12,629)

(5,500)

Proceeds from/(Repayments of) commercial paper, net

31

(2,026)

Proceeds from repurchase agreements

5,165

Other

(120)

(83)

Cash used in financing activities

(65,463)

(69,937)

Increase/(Decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

(15,185)

26,238

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, ending balances

$

35,039

$

52,151

Supplemental cash flow disclosure:

Cash paid for income taxes, net

$

8,410

$

11,795

Cash paid for interest

$

2,275

$

2,563

Kristin Huguet Quayle, (408) 974-2414

Tejas Gala, (669) 227-2402

KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HARDWARE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS MOBILE/WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 07/30/2020 04:30 PM/DISC: 07/30/2020 04:30 PM

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

Fashion

Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

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Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

Fashion’s OG Instagrammers are building empires and, at the same time, growing their influence beyond the industry.

After being schooled for years on the workings of the fashion industry, mega-influencers including Danielle Bernstein (2.7 million Instagram followers) and Rocky Barnes (2.5 million Instagram followers) are graduating to careers less reliant on brands. To take it to the next level, they’re leveraging their prowess and communities, driving deals with effective business partners, and evolving their focus, based on the industry’s direction and their own passions. The emerging results, for both Bernstein and Barnes, are personally-backed brands and investment portfolios set to expand based on early successes.

“The plan is to grow, in a big way,” said Bernstein. “I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I’ll always want to introduce new businesses and categories to my brand. And I’m angel investing and joining the board of advisors for so many companies. That’s the future of the creator economy: harnessing and creating community around your existing followers and then figuring out how to monetize that.”

In 2019, upon inking a licensing deal with New York-based clothing company Onia, Bernstein launched the Shop We Wore What e-commerce site, populated with her expanding We Wore What fashion collection. The collection has been at the center of much recent controversy, due to allegedly including copycat designs. According to Bernstein, she turns to vintage pieces, editorials and travel for inspiration. Bernstein’s also become an investor and advisor for hair supplement company Wellbel and CBD brand Highline Wellness. In May, she became active on Patreon, offering exclusive video content to paying members of her community.

In addition, Bernstein heads up We Gave What, a charitable arm of her company. In 2019, she launched tech company Moe Assist with a project management tool for influencers, though its social accounts have been inactive for two-plus months. When asked for comment, a spokesperson said Moe Assist is in a new fundraising stage and “should have news to share shortly.”

Barnes, meanwhile, partnered with Reunited Clothing to come out with her apparel company, The Bright Side, in December. And she recently became a first-time investor-advisor, for 6-month-old SMS shopping platform Qatch. She announced the partnership in an Instagram post on Monday.

“I feel like a grown-up,” she told me, before confirming that she’s interested in investing in more companies. “Diversifying my business has been a really big [focus] for me. I interact with so many different brands and companies on a daily basis. Using my market knowledge in ways that can help other people is fulfilling and exciting for me. And I especially love when I can be involved with a company from the beginning.”

Building on their content creator role in fashion is a natural progression, both said. And it plays into many industry shifts: On its way out is fashion’s DTC era, largely fueled by Harvard Business School and Wharton graduates using a plug-and-play, marketing-heavy business model to launch brands. More consumers are prioritizing quality, differentiated products, making industry experience and style expertise greater virtues among insiders. At the same time, consumers are increasingly taking shopping cues from relatable, platform-native celebrities, moving on from authoritative editors and more closed-off celebrities.

The school of collaborations
The collaborator-to-founder shift isn’t the newest thing. Other longtime influencers that have made the pivot include Arielle Charnas, with Something Navy; Aimee Song, with Song of Style; Rumi Neely, with Are You Am I; the list goes on. Most often, the names behind these brands don’t have formal design and business training — for her part, Bernstein said she “went to FIT for two years, but didn’t study design and production.” But, for years, they’ve worked hand-in-hand with companies to bring their visions to life. And along the way, they’ve come to know what resonates best with their vast communities, from marketing to merchandising to product.

“My most successful collaborations have led to the largest share of my business,” said Bernstein.

Bernstein’s partnership with Onia came out of her swimwear collaboration with its Onia brand, in May 2019. On the collab’s launch day, it drove $2 million in sales, and an included style was the brand’s best-selling swimsuit of the summer. Also in 2019, Bernstein collaborated with Joe’s Jeans on multiple denim collections. The launch day of the first, in March 2019, marked Joe Jeans’ best sales day to date, said Jennifer Hawkins, the brand’s svp of marketing and innovation on a Glossy Podcast in October.

Both served as learning opportunities for Bernstein, who said — as with all of her collaborations — she took full advantage: “It was never just [uploading] a post, and then I went away,” she said. “I always wanted to know how the performance was, in terms of sales, and asked questions: ‘Can you share the analytics?’ ‘What did you see on your end?’ ‘What worked and what didn’t work?’”

She added, “They provided a ton of data, in terms of what I could sell and what the market was missing.”

Likewise, she said, she always followed and shared with partner brands the Instagram Insights and Google Analytics numbers around her corresponding posts. Doing so gave all parties a 360-degree view of a collaboration’s success.

“I’ve learned what works for brands so they get the largest return on their investment,” she said.

For example, she’s learned to lean on her audience’s tastes, versus rely on her own, by allowing them to offer feedback throughout the design process through Instagram. That’s included the selection of fabrics and colors and the fit sessions with models. She only spotlights her favorite styles and what she wears in her own social posts, as a play for authenticity.

According to Bernstein, the collaborations with brands allowing her to play an advisor role — by guiding them on influencer partnerships, marketing and messaging — are always more successful. And they often turn into longer-term investment or advising partnerships.

Bernstein chose to work with Onia on the We Wore What collection based on its prioritization of quality and fit, and ability to keep to affordable retail prices. Currently, prices on the We Wore What site range from $20, for a scrunchie, to $228, for a vegan leather jumpsuit.

Barnes was also ready to go out on her own after finding the right partners. Her Reunited Clothing partnership came after working with the company to create her Express product collaboration, in early 2019. On its first-quarter 2019 earnings call, interim CEO Matthew C. Moullering said the company had seen “a strong start to [the] collection both in-stores and online and [believed] it [was] helping to introduce the brand to a new audience.”

“Having your own brand is terrifying,” Barnes said. “But I like that I’m in control and not so dependent on doing the day-to-day posts promoting other companies.”

But, she added, “One of the huge benefits of working with all these different brands on all these different projects is that we’re constantly getting introduced to new people and seeing who we like working with.”

Barnes’ internal team consists of her husband, who’s the “business brains” of the company, she said, and an assistant.

Like Bernstein, Barnes stressed the need for outside support in the production process: “I love such quirky, crazy things, but I also understand what is realistic for a buyer and a normal girl buying clothes,” she said. “The experience of taking ideas and making them work for a bigger group of people was my learning curve going into a business. It’s important to have a good, diverse team around you who can make your idea something that’s marketable.”

For its part, We Wore What has seen “200x growth in the last year,” as it’s expanded to new categories, Bernstein said. Its ready-to-wear, swimwear, resort wear, and activewear are now sold in “dozens and dozens of retailers around the world,” many of which offer style exclusives; they include Revolve, Bloomingdale’s and Intermix.

“Launching my own brand was putting the proof in the pudding for the power of influencers, when it comes to selling product,” she said.

As with her Joe’s and Onia collaborations, Bernstein sees a rush-to-buy with We Wore What product drops. “The first 10 minutes is when we see the biggest portion of our sales for the entire collection,” she said.

To build buzz, Shop We Wore What’s Instagram account (213,000 followers) features in its Stories the line sheets of the soon-to-launch styles, allowing customers to thoughtfully plan their buy. Doing so has led to lower return rates, Bernstein said. The company’s marketing mix also includes text messages and emails, VIP discounts and user-generated content.

Bernstein has a staff of four people, which include a chief operating officer and a brand coordinator. She said she prioritizes establishing partners with skills and expertise she doesn’t have, so she can learn from them along the way. Ideally, she’d have learned about tech packs, fittings and production logistics in school, but she’s training as she goes.

Moving forward, Bernstein said she plans to extend the size range of We What What styles, which are currently available in sizes XS-XXL, and launch collections with collaborators to sell exclusively on her brand’s DTC site. In addition, she aims to eventually open “experimental” physical retail, starting with pop-ups.

As for her investment-advisor portfolio, she’s currently in talks with companies centered on the concepts of “being able to sell your closet and even rent your closet.”

As for Barnes’ Bright Side, she said it will hit “a bunch of new retailers this year.”

Moving beyond fashion
Up next for Shop We Wore What is a new product category that will hit before the holiday season. Considering her passion for home furnishings and decor — based on her @homeworewhat Instagram account (7,500 followers) and recent press coverage of her new SoHo loft — it’s a safe bet that a home-related category is in the cards.

Likewise, Barnes hinted at a future Bright Side home collection, following her recent, two-year home remodel, which she’s getting set to debut on social media.

Lifestyle brands are the clear goal.

“I would love to be a combination of Rachel Zoe and Martha Stewart, just having my hands in everything and creating this really beautiful lifestyle where you can entertain and be fashionable,” Barnes said. “That’s kind of the dream.”

She added, “Fashion is where my heart has always been, but I’m growing as a person and there’s so much more in my life right now: my family, my home — and I’m getting older, so beauty [and skin care] makes sense now. Sharing all of that with everyone seems so natural; it would be weird if I only did fashion.”

As for future investments, though Quatch fits perfectly into Barnes’ world, with its fashion-tech focus, she said she’s open to investing in any company where she sees opportunity.

What’s more, she has no plans to retire from social media, though she has yet to tackle TikTok.

“People’s need for content has only increased, so I’m posting and creating content more than ever,” Barnes said. “But I’ve learned to become more of a hard-ass with brands. The companies that are willing to work with me and [facilitate] the most like authentic relationship possible are the ones I move forward with.” Reunited can attest.

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South African bowler Tabraiz Shamsi: Amateur magician; professional tweaker-trickster

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wwe crown jewel results

Harry Potter fans would know this as the Room of Requirement; muggle cricketers dub it backend operations. Tabraiz Shamsi is an amateur magician. He is also a professional worrier of why some googlies don’t turn as much as he’d want, in cricket.

For the Proteas chinaman bowler, the room of requirement from where he could pull out any game data, used to be the dependable ‘P Dawgg’, former South Africa analyst Prasanna Agoram combining his ken and nous and fast processing laptop. Prasanna enviably would be privy to the trial (and error) runs of Magician Shamsi’s classical Tourniquet coin-drops with the cricket ball. Which was the unglamorous, quirk-in-progress of his left-arm leg spin.

At the stroke of 1 a.m, oftener than not, Shamsi would come looking for what he called ‘shit balls’, in what Prasanna reckoned were otherwise impressive, less-than-run-a-ball bowling spells. This was that one specific delivery that went for a six to sully Shamsi’s 4-0-22-3 T20 match figures. It was the bugs, not the features, that the 29-year-old would cussedly fixate on.

“I’d never point out that he’s missing his length or the back foot was collapsing, at 12.30 in the night. Because Shamo, you see, would then take me to the nets at 1 a.m! He’s capable of calling the manager and telling him at that hour that I have to practice NOW. You had to be careful about what you told him at 1 a.m,” Prasanna laughs, underlining ungrudging admiration for the Proteas spinner’s dedication.

A series of self-recriminations in staccato would follow the ‘Bhai, can you please put on the shit-ball that went for a six.’ “He’d curse himself watching replays: ‘no good, not international class, garbage ball.’ If you try telling him it is ‘well-played’ from Jos Butler and not exactly a poor ball, he’d be hard on himself and say, ‘This is nonsense from Shamo’,” Prasanna recalls of his exacting standards.

For, the South African World No 1 spinner – who lends mystery to the Saffer bowling attack if not entirely upstaging their thunderbolt battery of pacers – knows that all sleights of hand, can come with uncontrollable twists of fate. Both in magic, and cricket.

A young boy of 15 at Paarl who tried to bowl quick like Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas, had wound up as a left arm leg spin all-sorts, after years of compulsive fine-tuning. And taken failures and omissions into his run-up’s five-strides.

***
Born in Johannesburg, Shamsi wanted to be a super quick in the land of bolting pacers. His progress though didn’t follow the regular route of being identified early for First teams at schools and playing age-groups. Also, he was told he wasn’t quick enough.

Speaking to the podcast ‘Pavilion conversations with C.S’ recently, Shamsi recalls his earliest break at age 15, bowling alone in the school nets, with the cricket coach’s office nearby. The coach would stop by and ask him what he was upto. “I said, ‘Sir, the U15 trials are coming up. I want to make the Paarl team wanna progress’. He told me – you are not gonna make it. But even there I thought he realised the type of character I am. That was just his way to push me even harder. He said ‘Don’t waste your time practicing coz you won’t get selected. And i was even more driven,” he told the host Mr. Chiwanza.

Shamsi would end up with most wickets that tournament, make the B team (“Still not A”), followed by U17 and U19s for the local side. “I didn’t get selected for SA U19s or invited to camps. My past was little different. In fact I got my opportunity at semi-pro cricket because one player got selected for U19s and went to the World Cup. A spot opened up because of him. I just knew that was my chance I had to make it work. And fortunately I performed. When he came back from the World Cup, he couldn’t get into the team,” Shamsi recalled.

It was around 2015-6 after he had zeroed in on Chinaman as his chosen bag of assorted tricks in franchise, provincial cricket, that he first sought out Prasanna, while closely following senior leggie and his ‘bruv’ Imran Tahir. Prasanna promised to compile a list of outstanding T20 spinners of that year for comparison, when Shamsi asked him: ‘Why just T20? I want to play all formats.’

Prasanna promised to revert after two days on Friday, and on Monday, he had a message from the hotel lobby at 10.30 am that Shamsi was waiting. “Normally, cricketers will turn up at 11.30, if the analyst time is 10.30. This guy made me abandon my breakfast and was ready with a list of questions. I’d prepared a presentation earlier on bowlers like Warne, Ajmal and Herath and how they bowled on unhelpful tracks, what lengths to bowl at what stage, and offered to email it to him. He tells me: “No. I’ll write it down in my own words. I don’t want shortcuts.”

Shamsi would sit and plan for every batsman – his notes diary in tow, even on matchdays when he wasn’t in Playing XI. And once he would spill the beans on why brainwaves struck him at 1 a.m – his preferred time to brainstorm with the analyst. “He once told me he eats my brain at that hour, so that he gets dreams of how to get a Kohli or Sharma out, so he can wake up next day he can execute the training plans.”

Once he came angsty about his googlies not spinning as much as Kuldeep Yadav or Brad Hogg. “When he said it’s not spinning, I told him Shamo’ you didn’t bowl any googly. That’s it. He hit the nets and bowled 1000 googlies non-stop and then said, he’s now hitting the groove.”

But nothing had prepared Prasanna for Shamsi’s mic-drop in the pink ball Test against Australia where the Chinaman was fancied as it’s tougher to spot the wrist in the Adelaidian twilight. Shamsi was instructed to block for 20 balls and support Faf as Proteas were hanging on at 210-9. Shamsi would announce he would score a 50 – against Pat Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc. Finally he was unbeaten on 18. “He came back and blustered ‘If someone had suported me, I’d have hit that 50’.”

***

This constant state of ‘upbeat’ – talking up his own abilities to score a 50 coming at No 11 against Cummins & Starc – might well be the sort of swag and sizzle that the staid South African teams need at ICC tournaments. For a large part of the last 30 years, the Proteas have entered tournaments with burdensome tags of ‘talented’ and ‘favourites’ and come up short. The tasteless mocking glee of choke-jokes has run its course, and being light-weights might well prove liberating.

For all their botched run chases in 50 overs, South Africa can stake claim to the historic highest run-rally to 438. And the innings-interval remark of Jacques Kallis, the most expensive bowler in Australia’s 434, who had quipped “Guys, I think we’ve done a good job. They’re 15 runs short.”

Shamsi likes his boisterous one-liners too. And his showboating and noisy over-the-top pantomime aggression.

After starring in a T20 win against Ireland earlier, he would tell South African journalist Telford Vice, “In my young age, I started as a seamer but was told I’m not quick enough to be a fast bowler so became a spinner. Grew up watching Andre Nel, Dayle Steyn, Allan Donald, that’s where aggression comes from.”

He knows it’s a double-edged sword and a bowler can be packed off, but it can disrupt batters too. “Whatever it takes to win. I’m in charge of making our presence felt on the ground and ensure the team never backs down from opponents,” he added.

Shamsi recently responded to Darren Sammy’s tweet on who would win the T20 World: “Come on skipper, you know the answer to this already…. South Africa of course.” Scroll down the thread, and some mocker mangles his grammar: “are you comedy me”. A good laugh was had by all. Pressure punctured.

“He’ll say things like ‘I’ll single-handedly win this,” Prasanna says, “Whether it happens or not, it gives confidence to people close to you – your team.”

***

Shamsi’s made it to the top of rankings, taking 49 wickets from 42 T20Is, at a strike-rate of 14.8 and averaging 6.6. There’s been a bucketful of wickets in franchise cricket and The Hundred. He’s 31 and has bidden his time to make it to the national team, and another 4 years into the Playing XI. The Wicket then, is an ocassion to celebrate, he reckons.

“I’m a human being and not a robot and want to make long-lasting happy memories that will live with me forever long after my career is done and that is the reason behind my celebrations,” he wrote in a social media post once. “My celebrations mean no disrespect to the opponents. They help me enjoy myself, switch on and off during the game to release some pressure, and put some smiles on people’s faces too.”

There’s the “Shoe” that got going in the West Indies, where within seconds of a wicket, he’d shrug his ankle open from the left shoe and pretend to speak on a landline receiver. Then there’s the bus driver-celebration with Carlos Braithwaite and something about a birdie’s chirp. A flying kiss to the wife and a mock punch to a fielder like a streets hip hopper. Though the untold back-stories raise anticipation of what he’ll whip up next.

Prasanna says there can be new hairdos before every game, sometimes “thrice a week”, and that magic tricks and celebrations are practiced as diligently as the googlies and top-spinners. “Not only will he say, ‘Tomorrow I’ll get Ben Stokes out.’ He’ll also ask you to watch the celebration.”

Amongst his most famous on-field triumph-trumpetings after snaring a batter is pulling a wand out of a hankey – a magician’s staple. But never in cricket, where magic’s glossary is slathered on the slow bowlers and their guiles.

T20 commentators love his name, lending it a South American football match caller’s vroom: “Shaaa-mzzziii”. But it’s the celebrations that can befuddle the most trained of raconteurs. When Shamsi got Wihan Lubbe in the Mzansi Super League, the commentator would build up to the expected celebration. “Is the shoe coming off? No. Look at that…it’s magic,” he would chortle. Cricket was momentarily put to the side, before he resumed confused: “That was a legspinner…… Beg your pardon… Offspinner… That did the trick..” Shamsi’s delivery had jagged away from the leftie and the post-celebration left the commentator’s mind in knots.

Appearing on the Dan Nicholl Show in SA, Shamsi had pulled one of those ‘I can guess the card pulled out of the deck after being shuffled’ tricks. It was ace of spades.

Magic had been his fallback option till age 16, he’d say. “So if cricket doesn’t work out… I ll practice magic for 10 years… But naa… It’s gonna work out.. I’ll bamboozle you all,” he would say, charming the audience.

At the start of the magic gig, Shamsi had handed a sealed envelope to the host. “Sealed with Proteas saliva” Nicholl had joked with whispered reverence. The distracting envelope had briefly become the centrepiece, and Shamsi would explain later:
“You satisfied you made me stop shuffling when u wanted me to? Funny thing is…You thought you were in charge of the trick… Telling me when to stop. Even though it’s your show, I’m running this party… I was controlling you and I actually made you stop at a specific point. …And to prove that I had written down something in this envelope before starting the trick..” It read Ace of Spades.

Shamsi’s assortment of Chinaman, is a bit like that: planned spontaneity. Allan Donald in a video while introducing him to RCB few seasons ago, said: “Left arm, tweaks it this way, tweaks it that way, then tweaks it the other way.” Offering attacking options in the middle overs, with his ability to turn ball both ways, and variations of top spinner, the side spinner and googly, makes him effective against both lefties and righties. The constant explosion of activity – before, right after when appealing (he once did a spot of bhangra jumps, then sat down altogether while pleading a decision) and when celebrating, is in fact the sealed envelope distraction.

Yet, bad days are not unfamiliar to Shamsi, and his role can be flexible like the magician’s wand, like in the West Indies, to keep things quiet, contain against the big power hitters. “There’s two ways to skin a cat… Not really fussed about not getting wickets in WI. That was a different role,” he told the media later.

Sometimes the magic is in not believing the flimflam and sleight. Like rankings. “I don’t lose sleep over being No 1. Obviously it’s a nice feeling to be on top. But I’ve said it before and I truly mean it. I don’t even think I’m the best bowler in our team. We have some great bowlers in the unit. Rankings don’t mean anything if a batsman gets hold of you. I don’t even know how those rankings work honestly.”

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Five great Twenty20 World Cup upsets

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