"Cool to have Indian roots....always idolised Sachin": NZ's Rachin Ravindra after win over England in World Cup

    The Hawk
    October6/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    Rachin Ravindra New Zealand

    Ahmedabad (Gujarat) (India): Rachin Ravindra, a 23-year-old all-rounder for New Zealand cricket, emerged as a new star for his side, lighting up the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad during the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against England.
    While on a junior cricket tour of India four years ago, Ravindra was hooked to a TV, watching his nation suffer the narrowest of losses to England in the ICC Cricket World Cup final. Kiwis had lost the trophy on boundary count after the match and super over ended in a tie.

    Four years later, Ravindra made his World Cup debut in India and the up-and-coming all-rounder stole the show, thrashing England with an incredible century, which is the fastest by a Kiwi batter in the tournament's history.
    It was a special moment for Rachin, born to Indian parents, to announce himself on the world stage on a platform as big as a 50-over World Cup and avenge the loss that he saw live on TV.
    "I think a hundred is always special, but I guess in terms of being able to perform in India, it is cool to have the Indian roots. It was nice to have my parents there watching - they flew over from New Zealand," Ravindra said as quoted by ICC.
    "It is cool to have that moment and obviously it is always nice coming to India. I have a sense of family connection whenever I am in Bangalore, being able to see my grandparents and stuff, it is pretty cool," he added.
    The all-rounder's first name is really familiar to cricket lovers across the world, especially the large mass of India fans as he was named by his cricket-loving parents after two Indian batting legends, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
    "I think those two (Dravid and Tendulkar) are pretty special cricketers. I have heard a lot of stories and watched a lot of footage and I guess the influence from my parents and my dad and the old-school Indian cricketers was pretty cool," Ravindra said.
    "Obviously, I idolised Sachin Tendulkar. I think a lot of people did. I think the way he batted and his technique was beautiful to watch. I guess being a lefty, there are guys you look at: I love Lara, I love Sangakkara, just the usual gun left-handers; but Tendulkar was definitely the idol," added the all-rounder.
    Ravindra's explosive 123* came from just 96 deliveries, consisting of five sixes and 11 fours, and broke the back and spirit of England's struggling bowling attack. It was also the first time he played in top order in a full ODI for Kiwis, after impressing as a stand-in opener in warm-up matches. He batted at number three.
    "I think I am pretty lucky that I was able to get the chance to bat at three. I have opened the batting for my domestic team... so it is somewhere I am familiar batting, and I really enjoy batting at the top too," Ravindra said.
    However, it would be interesting to see how long this experiment of Rachin batting at number three continues with skipper Kane Williamson racing towards full fitness day by day. Nonetheless, he has made a strong case for himself and his all-rounder status will only help him. He also delivered his full ten overs of spin, returning with figures of 1/76, something he is not happy with.
    "Obviously the sort of player I am, I want to be a genuine all-rounder and hopefully continue being a genuine all-rounder in the future. But I am just happy with whatever labels put on," Ravindra said.

    "It (his bowling) probably did not come out as well as I would have wanted today, but look, that is the beauty of cricket. I think some days you have great days, some days you do not. So, we will look at it and review it and hopefully go back again next game," he said.
    The young player's aggressive batting style was essential to New Zealand's powerplay blitz since it propelled his team far ahead of the run rate and constrained England's three-pronged spin attack's ability in the middle overs.
    The Kiwis continued to score runs after Chris Woakes and Mark Wood absorbed the initial beating.
    "We played against him recently and he got some runs at Lord's and played really well," opposing captain Jos Buttler said after being on the receiving end of Ravindra's brilliance.
    "Obviously in the warm-up game at Hyderabad, I think he opened the batting and played really well as well."
    "I think the two guys, if I look back, it was not like they were playing outrageous shots or scooping it over the keeper's head. They played excellent cricket shots and got fantastic value on that pitch. The margin felt very small for the bowlers and if you are a little bit off, they put you away. I thought those two played really, really well and put together obviously a quite incredible partnership," he said.
    With a partnership of 273 runs, Ravindra and Devon Conway set a record for New Zealand in a major competition. In addition, Ravindra's first international century, which he reached off 82 balls, was also the fastest ODI ton by a Kiwi batter.
    "The best thing was they played good cricket shots, which was the most pleasing thing," New Zealand skipper Tom Latham said.
    "They just reacted to what was being bowled, but it certainly was not a plan to come out and play that way."
    "He (Ravindra) played a fantastic innings and we are super proud of him and the way he's come out. It is his first ODI in that position and we are looking forward to getting around him tonight," he concluded.
    Coming to the match, NZ elected to field first and restricted England to 282/9 in 50 overs. Joe Root (77 in 86 balls with four boundaries and a six) held the entire innings together with his return-to-form fifty. However, skipper Jos Buttler (43 in 42 balls with two fours and two sixes) and Jonny Bairstow (33 in 35 balls with four boundaries and a six) contributed some decent knocks too.
    Matt Henry (3/48) was the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwis. Mitchell Santner and Glenn Phillips also used their spin bowling to choke England's run flow and took two wickets. Trent Boult and Rachin got a wicket each.
    In the chase of 283, NZ lost Will Young for a duck, but Conway (152* in 121 balls, with 19 fours and three sixes) and Ravindra (123* in 96 balls with 11 fours and five sixes) helped the Kiwis win with almost 14 overs in hand.
    Ravindra took home the 'Player of the Match' award.