Rachin Ravindra: Things have happened quite quickly, and I am very fortunate to be here right now
Rachin Ravindra sums up his two years of international cricket with the phrase “pretty surreal” while the ODI World Cup held in India was the highlight of his career, during which he hit 543 runs, including three hundreds and two half-centuries.
Rachin Ravindra sums up his two years of international cricket with the phrase “pretty surreal.” The ODI World Cup held in India was the highlight of his career, during which he hit 543 runs, including three hundred and two half-centuries.
“Things have happened quite quickly, and I am very fortunate to be here right now,”
he said in Sylhet, where New Zealand is preparing for a two-Test series against Bangladesh before returning home to play Bangladesh once again, although in a short-format series.
“At my age, being able to travel around the world playing cricket, playing a game you love, for a living is pretty special. [It] definitely has its ups and downs, but mostly I love every single moment,”Ravindra, just past his 24th birthday, said.
“Look, I think it’s a testament to the team environment: to be able to come in and play with freedom, and enjoy my time learning from those guys who have been here for so long. It’s been great to rub shoulders with everyone, and hopefully, I can keep learning from them.”
However, switching from white to red-ball cricket is not a huge concern. Actually, Ravindra said that he was looking forward to it.
“I enjoy going back to red-ball cricket after that (ODIs) because that means your intent… you are almost looking to score, so, I mean, [it] keeps you in a good position to score,”he said.
“But probably here [in Bangladesh] it depends on the conditions, what the pitch is doing; it’s probably going to dial that back a little bit, not as many risks. You can still play your natural game, by understanding the surface and the situation of the game dictates you.
“I think we sometimes don’t understand how long a Test match really is – you have five days of 90 overs each day, so there’s a lot of time here, so hopefully we can bring that calmness in the group from the one-dayers to the red-ball stuff.”
Ravindra has only had three tests so far. Two in his debut series, one in Mount Maunganui early last year against Bangladesh, which resulted in a famous victory for Bangladesh. In the format, Ravindra’s stats aren’t particularly noteworthy—just 73 runs in six innings.
“I really loved my first experience of Test cricket a couple of years ago, and [I am] really excited to see how my game has evolved,”he said.
If Ravindra plays in Tuesday’s first Test match against Bangladesh on home soil, he may bat far lower than the No. 3 spot he held during the ODI World Cup. It will be different for sure.
“It obviously depends. You’ve got a little transition period, and you probably don’t have as much time to get yourself in; but also it’s Test cricket, so you actually do have a lot of time,”he said.
“It’s a different role for sure; it’s not a new ball – I might come in and straightaway face a spinner.
“So [it’s] just [about] wrapping your head around that and seeing what sort of way you can adjust your game plan and get used to facing slower bowling instead of seam up top. But the beauty of it [is that] you contribute whatever way you can for the team no matter what role it is, and hopefully you contribute to a win.”
Ravindra’s ability to bat gives him an advantage when it comes to being selected for the XI, but New Zealand’s spin-heavy squad in Bangladesh has a lot of quality: Ajaz Patel, Ish Sodhi, and Mitchell Santner (another all-rounder, but primarily a bowler) are the specialists, and in addition to Ravindra, there’s Glenn Phillips, a batsman who has a knack of taking important wickets with his off-spin.
The first Test match against Bangladesh will take place in Sylhet, which is believed to be a little bit more seamer-friendly than, say, Dhaka. However, spinners should be a major factor there as well. In Dhaka, there will be a second Test.
Thus, it makes sense for Ravindra and the other spinners from New Zealand to play. Ravindra is so eager to pick up as much knowledge as he can, particularly from Ajaz and Sodhi, but for him, it’s about “trying to understand what they do well but still trying to do it my way”.
“Those wickets back in 2021 [when New Zealand played five T20Is in Dhaka] were very interesting, I guess,”he said with a laugh.
“It was quite difficult to bat on, but it was good fun to bowl on.”
His takeaways from that trip?
“Bowl with a quicker pace rather than what we are probably accustomed to bowling back home; if you are putting it in the area and dialing up the pace a little bit more, hopefully, have a little bit of success.”
During that T20I tour, Ravindra took six wickets, including a three-for, and scored 47 runs in five innings, including two ducks. Despite this, New Zealand lost 3-2.
Even though Ravindra is an all-round batsman, his left-arm spin bowling ability may lead to him being given more responsibility with the ball than he would otherwise receive.
He didn’t usually take many wickets at the World Cup, but his 2 for 21 against Sri Lanka was impressive – but more than pulling his weight as one of the fifth bowlers, returning a tournament economy of 5.98.
Additionally, Saqlain Mushtaq will be available to New Zealand in Bangladesh, just as he was during the tour of Pakistan in April-May this year. Ravindra is “really excited” about his work with the spinners in Sylhet, and not only for the obvious reason.
“Really excited to link up with him again, talk a lot about cricket, [and] about life. He imparts some great wisdom, so not just on the field but off the field [too].”