Adam Bacher talks about the importance of being an all-rounder
“There’s that fear of failure, what happens if it doesn’t pan out,” says Bacher. “It gives me the same adrenaline rush, and that’s what I love about it. Then you get a few runs on the board or a few clients into your business, and you build confidence.”
Just as preparation is key before taking guard against a fast bowler, so too is preparation in business. Says Bacher, “I always try to ensure that my skills are honed well before I go into that meeting with a prospective client, or in the cricket arena to face that fast bowler.”
Bacher is aware that like the dips in his batting form, he may have dips in his business life. However, the batsman who has played 18 test matches for South Africa says, “You’ve got to have the grit and determination not to give up, not to always change your game plan, to hang in there.”
The lessons Bacher learnt on the cricket pitch have helped him to start and run his own wealth management business, and assist people seeking financial advice. “I love building relationships with people and families. It’s about lots more than just investments, it’s about looking after people’s financial well-being and their families.”
But though Bacher’s celebrity status might open doors for him, he believes that “unless you have credibility in terms of your skill and ability to manage their investments, being a celebrity alone won’t close the deal”. That’s why he equipped himself with a BCom degree, and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) qualification.
Bacher’s advice to professional sportspeople is, “Don’t live beyond your means. Take into account the long term, and have a professional partner you can trust when it comes to managing your money.”
He says a select few top sports professionals will earn enough to sustain themselves for life. But, the majority need to plan for the next chapter of their life after the curtain comes down on their career.
“I was very lucky that I was still playing in an era where there was a respect for youngsters that didn’t just play cricket – you could hold down a job,” says Bacher. “We practiced in the afternoon, so I could go to university to study in the mornings. I was almost the last kind of cricketer that could have that kind of balance – so I was really fortunate.”
As a Jewish professional cricketer, Bacher believes that he was fortunate that he never had a cricket match on Yom Kippur, and although he did play matches on a Saturday because he is not strictly observant, he has always been proud of his Jewish heritage.
Bacher says that the lack of Jewish cricketers playing at top level in South Africa is due to the absence of the Balfour Jewish Guild, whose grounds became townhouse complexes. “The club was very successful, and introduced many wonderful Jewish cricketers. Some of them went on to play first-class cricket,” Bacher says. He believes South Africa needs a traditional club where Jewish cricketers can progress and hone their skills.
Bacher advises aspiring Jewish cricketers not to give up if they don’t make provincial or national squads. “There’s a big emphasis on getting to the top level, but that mustn’t be the ultimate thing that determines whether you love cricket or not. People can still enjoy the benefits of playing club cricket – meeting friends, meeting different people, and enjoying the game.”
He encourages this philosophy in his own kids, saying that he would be happy for them to follow in his footsteps, but he won’t push them to pursue that path.
Bacher continues to be involved in cricket, primarily by mentoring aspiring young cricketers who don’t have the support system required to reach their full potential.
In 2016, Bacher was part a four-person panel tasked with examining the performance of South African men and women’s teams. He describes this as one of the highlights of his cricket career. “Working with Francois Pienaar [the former Rugby World Cup-winning captain was also on the panel] was an eye-opener for me. We interviewed players and coaches, and we looked into what makes high-performance teams tick.”
Bacher is worried about the all-or-nothing approach expected from cricketers nowadays, believing in a more balanced approach to life. In fact, he rates finding a balance between family, business, and giving back to cricket as his greatest achievement off the pitch.