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Parade Technologies Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results

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Parade Technologies Reports Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Parade Technologies, Ltd. (Taipei Exchange: 4966.TWO), a leading high-speed interface IC supplier, today announced financial results for the second quarter fiscal year 2020 ended June 30, 2020, and provided guidance for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Consolidated revenue was US$121.54 million and consolidated net income was US$28.22 million. Basic and fully diluted after-tax earnings per share (“EPS”) were US$0.36 (NT$10.81) and US$0.35 (NT$10.54), respectively. These results compared to consolidated revenue US$90.70 million and consolidated net income of US$17.57 million, or US$0.23 (NT$7.10) and US$0.22 (NT$6.84) per basic and fully diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

In US dollars, the second quarter of 2020 consolidated revenue increased 23.57% sequentially and was up 34.00% year-over-year.

The gross profit in the second quarter of 2020 was US$53.81 million, representing an increase of 22.57% from the previous quarter and an increase of 41.22% compared to the same quarter of last year.

On May 6, 2020, Parade announced the mass production of the PS8925 PCI Express Gen 4 retimer for enterprise system deployment. The device has completed rigorous testing and validation in enterprise-level network and storage systems now entering production. The PS8925 is a 4-lane device within Parade’s family of PCI Express Gen 4 retimer IC products that support up to 16 bi-directional lanes using 32 high-speed data channels operating at 16 Gbps.

On June 2, 2020, Parade announced the completion its acquisition of Fresco Logic, Inc. Parade believes the synergy of Fresco’s USB expertise with Parade’s proven high-speed data transport experience will greatly benefit Parade’s USB4 product integration development. Leveraging the intellectual property portfolio of each company should serve to position Parade as a key supplier of integrated solutions for USB4 host, hub, docking, and device applications. As an established leader in interface devices for USB, PCI Express, and DisplayPort, all of which will now be supported through the high-speed USB4 interface, the acquisition of Fresco Logic presents an evolutionary growth opportunity for Parade.

On June 16, 2020, AIC Inc. and Parade Technologies jointly announced the two companies will align on PCI Express Gen 4 retimer technologies to enable the launch of a pioneering PCI Express Gen 4 appliance. AIC’s server hardware, supporting multiple PCI Express Gen 4 slots in a single rackmount chassis, is a flexible and compact extension box accommodating accelerators such as GPUs, NIC, FPGA and NVMe drives. Utilizing Parade’s PCI Express Gen 4 retimer chip, AIC’s high-density PCI Express Gen 4 appliance provides stable data transport of the doubled data rate of PCI Express Gen 4 at 16 Gbps, compared to 8 Gbps of PCI Express Gen 3. And this partnership provides a gateway for early entry into the PCI Express Gen 4 market for both companies.

On July 14, 2020, Parade announced two new eDP Tcon devices developed for high-performance PC gaming applications along with new complementary LCD source drivers. The new Tcon devices, the DP808 and DP807, enable resolution support up to UHD while providing a fast 120 Hz refresh rate, and even higher refresh rates at lower resolutions. The DP808 and DP807 provide high-speed SIPI™ outputs to the source drivers that drive the LCD display. To support the higher pixel rate capabilities of the DP808 and DP807, Parade has also introduced the TC2082, TC2090, and TC2101 SIPI source drivers.

Based on current business outlook, Parade is providing the following guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2020:

  • Revenue: US$135 ~149 Million

  • Gross Margin: 41.5% ~44.5%

  • Operating Expense: US$26 ~27 Million

The financial figures detailed above for the second quarter of 2020 have been reviewed by independent accountants.

About Parade Technologies, Ltd.

Parade Technologies, Ltd. is a leading supplier of mixed-signal ICs for a variety of popular display and high-speed interface standards used in computers, consumer electronics and display panels. The fabless semiconductor company was founded in 2005 and publicly listed on Taipei Exchange (“TPEx”) in 2011 (stock code: 4966). Parade’s portfolio of IC products serves the growing demand for HDMI™, DisplayPort™, SATA, and USB ICs for display, storage and interface applications.

In addition to being a technology innovator, Parade is an active participant and leader in industry standards-setting organizations. Parade Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned US-based subsidiary of Parade Technologies, Ltd., is a member of VESA (Video Electronics Standard Association). Parade Technologies, Inc. has made key contributions to the development of VESA’s DisplayPort™ digital video interface standard.

Parade leverages its close relationships with market leading Tier-1 OEMs to develop ICs that provide unique system capabilities. Many of the company’s devices integrate proprietary technologies that offer superior system signal integrity, advanced system integration and enhanced power efficiency. As a result of the company’s “standards-plus” design philosophy, Parade ICs have been designed into products offered by nearly every leading computer and display vendor worldwide.

Parade Technologies, Ltd. and Subsidiaries.

The reader is advised that these consolidated financial statements have been prepared originally in NT$ and conformed with the adoption of IFRSs. In the event of any differences between NT$ and US$ version, the NT$ version shall prevail.

UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF
COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
USD in Thousands NTD in Thousands
Sequential Quarter Three Months ended Six Months ended Sequential Quarter Three Months ended Six Months ended
Jun 30, Mar 31, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Mar 31, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30,

2020

2020

2020

2019

2020

2019

2020

2020

2020

2019

2020

2019

Revenue

121,543

98,360

121,543

90,703

219,903

184,423

3,632,919

2,961,629

3,632,919

2,824,499

6,594,548

5,713,877

Cost of goods sold

67,738

54,462

67,738

52,602

122,200

107,080

2,024,686

1,639,853

2,024,686

1,638,014

3,664,539

3,317,585

Gross profit

53,805

43,898

53,805

38,101

97,703

77,343

1,608,233

1,321,776

1,608,233

1,186,485

2,930,009

2,396,292

Research & development expenses

15,198

13,898

15,198

13,353

29,096

26,140

454,265

418,478

454,265

415,819

872,743

810,026

Sales & marketing expenses

5,239

4,864

5,239

4,463

10,103

8,998

156,612

146,442

156,612

138,991

303,054

278,805

General & administrative expenses

4,516

3,641

4,516

3,123

8,157

6,223

134,965

109,645

134,965

97,252

244,610

192,829

Total operating expenses

24,953

22,403

24,953

20,939

47,356

41,361

745,842

674,565

745,842

652,062

1,420,407

1,281,660

Operating income

28,852

21,495

28,852

17,162

50,347

35,982

862,391

647,211

862,391

534,423

1,509,602

1,114,632

Non-operating income and expenses

143

817

143

1,083

960

1,608

4,256

24,608

4,256

33,701

28,864

49,902

Income before income taxes

28,995

22,312

28,995

18,245

51,307

37,590

866,647

671,819

866,647

568,124

1,538,466

1,164,534

Income tax expense

772

1,625

772

678

2,397

1,433

23,084

48,928

23,084

21,110

72,012

44,383

Net income

28,223

20,687

28,223

17,567

48,910

36,157

843,563

622,891

843,563

547,014

1,466,454

1,120,151

EPS – Basic (In Dollar)

$0.36

$0.27

$0.36

$0.23

$0.63

$0.47

$10.81

$8.00

$10.81

$7.10

$18.81

$14.57

Shares used in computing EPS-Basic (In thousands)

78,034

77,872

78,034

77,008

77,955

76,883

78,034

77,872

78,034

77,008

77,955

76,883

EPS – Diluted (In Dollar)

$0.35

$0.26

$0.35

$0.22

$0.61

$0.45

$10.54

$7.79

$10.54

$6.84

$18.33

$14.00

Shares used in computing EPS-Diluted (In thousands)

80,012

79,965

80,012

80,012

80,021

80,006

80,012

79,965

80,012

80,012

80,021

80,006

UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS USD in Thousands NTD in Thousands
As of June 30, 2020 and 2019 Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30,

2020

2019

2020

2019

Current assets
Cash & cash equivalents

272,560

241,339

8,075,953

7,495,983

Accounts receivable, net

57,635

43,527

1,707,712

1,351,940

Inventories, net

33,248

36,945

985,135

1,147,504

Prepayments

11,555

7,807

342,377

242,492

Other current assets

12,444

10,785

368,725

334,995

Total current assets

387,442

340,403

11,479,902

10,572,914

Non-current assets
Property, plant and equipment, net

10,211

9,251

302,529

287,329

Right-of-use assets

5,023

7,017

148,839

217,949

Intangible assets

113,516

82,160

3,363,513

2,551,886

Deferred income tax assets

5,253

2,465

155,633

76,565

Other non-current assets

898

876

26,608

27,217

Total non-current assets

134,901

101,769

3,997,122

3,160,946

Total Assets

522,343

442,172

15,477,024

13,733,860

Current Liabilities
Accounts payable

29,177

30,762

864,510

955,482

Other payables

70,442

55,496

2,137,572

1,694,109

Current income tax liabilities

18,975

17,443

562,223

541,772

Lease liabilities – current

1,936

2,056

57,378

63,867

Other current liabilities

8,201

6,593

242,992

204,784

Total current liabilities

128,731

112,350

3,864,675

3,460,014

Non current Liabilities
Lease liabilities – non-current

3,087

4,961

91,461

154,082

Total non current liabilities

3,087

4,961

91,461

154,082

Equity
Ordinary shares

26,343

26,085

800,100

792,144

Capital reserves

105,244

94,579

3,201,278

2,869,927

Retained earnings

281,263

228,239

8,584,981

7,019,459

Other equity

(19,029

)

(17,450

)

(963,746

)

(358,316

)

Treasury shares

(3,296

)

(6,592

)

(101,725

)

(203,450

)

Total equity

390,525

324,861

11,520,888

10,119,764

Total liabilities and equity

522,343

442,172

15,477,024

13,733,860

UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS USD in Thousands NTD in Thousands
For six months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30, Jun 30,

2020

2019

2020

2019

Cash flows from operating activities
Income before income tax for the period

51,307

37,590

1,538,466

1,164,534

Depreciation and amortization (including the right-of-use assets)

7,384

7,364

221,526

228,125

Share-based compensation cost

5,080

4,303

156,620

132,721

Interest income

(857

)

(1,638

)

(25,800

)

(50,792

)

Income and expenses having no effect on cash flows

11,607

10,029

352,346

310,054

Accounts receivable

(17,690

)

2,418

(524,159

)

75,088

Inventories

(1,767

)

(1,144

)

(52,370

)

(35,543

)

Prepayments

(3,212

)

(1,072

)

(95,157

)

(33,282

)

Other current assets

(759

)

50

(22,487

)

1,575

Net changes in assets relating to operating activities

(23,428

)

252

(694,173

)

7,838

Accounts payable

2,953

(864

)

87,498

(26,837

)

Other payables

6,433

(721

)

190,622

81,336

Other current liabilities

1,860

2,619

55,102

(22,402

)

Net changes in liabilities relating to operating activities

11,246

1,034

333,222

32,097

Cash provided by operations

50,732

48,905

1,529,861

1,514,523

Interest received

857

1,637

25,715

50,733

Income taxes paid

(7,036

)

(490

)

(211,067

)

(15,192

)

Income taxes received

1

12

Net cash provided by operating activities

44,554

50,052

1,344,521

1,550,064

Cash flows from investing activities
Acquisition of equipment

(2,806

)

(676

)

(84,169

)

(20,936

)

Acquisition of intangible assets

(1,787

)

(3,149

)

(53,622

)

(97,547

)

Increase in refundable deposits

(32

)

(67

)

(955

)

(2,089

)

Acquisition of business combinations

(37,169

)

(1,112,458

)

Net cash used in investing activities

(41,794

)

(3,892

)

(1,251,204

)

(120,572

)

Cash flows from financing activities
Proceeds from exercise of employee stock options

349

338

10,475

10,457

Repayment of the principal portion of lease liabilities

(1,126

)

(989

)

(33,769

)

(30,630

)

Cash dividend regain from canceled share-based compensation

48

23

1,432

689

Net cash used in financing activities

(729

)

(628

)

(21,862

)

(19,484

)

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents

149

106

(101,502

)

74,047

Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

2,180

45,638

(30,047

)

1,484,055

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

270,380

195,701

8,106,000

6,011,928

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

272,560

241,339

8,075,953

7,495,983

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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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