Rachin Ravindra Is The New Kid On The Block

Rachin Ravindra is one of the young sensations of international cricket. The 24-year-old Kiwi batsman of Indian origin showcased his talent in the ICC World Cup in India (in November) when he slammed three centuries and, more importantly, ensured New Zealand entered the semi-finals of the World Cup.

For someone who had made it to the New Zealand side following the injuries to Kane Williamson, Rachin was super quick to prove his credentials. He did the ‘unthinkable’ when he scored a century against defending champion England in his opening match of the tournament. Not only that, he emerged as the highest scorer as a debutant when he scored 575 runs, which is a record.

Rachin’s Indian roots become very obvious when he speaks. Though there is a tinge of the Kiwi accent, there is a strong Indian accent, which clearly shows his South Indian roots.

Rachin’s father, Ravi Krishnamurthy, was born in Bengaluru. A software engineer, he was also a very avid cricket fan who closely followed the exploits of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

“It was my father who initiated and developed my love for cricket and cricketers. He was following the fortunes of the Indian team wherever they went, and soon his love for the game transcended over to me,” said Rachin.

In fact, Ravi, who shifted to New Zealand in 1997, was very particular about the idea that his son Rachin should become a cricket player. “At home, our discussion would invariably be about whom and when India would play next. And then the conversation would veer towards how nice it would have been had I or my father been playing for India, “Ravin said.

Once Rachin was born in Wellington, his father, Ravi, wanted him to be a cricketer who would don the Kiwi All Blacks. Such was his mission and passion that he would end up driving a nine-year-old Rachin more than 70 to 100km per day in order to attend cricket coaching.

“Those early days were quite tough. Initially, I was reluctant to go to such lengths—leave home early for school, then return and leave for cricket practice. This involved a lot of travel and, needless to say, took a hell lot out of me,” said Rachin.

If Rachin had doubts, Father Ravi was quite clear about his son’s future. He kept prodding and pushing Rachin further and further in order to pursue his dreams.

Slowly but surely, Rachin increased his pace and made his presence felt in the Kiwi junior squad with a string of good performances. His batting prowess soon made him famous, as he was one of the most prolific scorers in the Plunkett Shield, the domestic circuit of New Zealand cricket.

Apart from that, Rachin used to travel every year to Bangalore to play club cricket. “That was an experience I would eagerly await. My parents hail from this city, and I am very comfortable with the people and cuisine,” he said.

From a very young age, Rachin admired Sachin Tendulkar. “I used to adore him—for just about everything. The way he batted and the way he conducted himself on and off the field. He was the epitome of what a cricketer should be. I wanted to be like him in terms of a batsman,” revealed Rachin.

Rachin made his debut for New Zealand A against Pakistan A in October 2018. “That was a landmark in my career. I could feel the pressure and was not able to give my best in that match,” said Rachin.

Soon, the International Cricket Council (ICC) acknowledged him as one of the finest young talents.

Rachin’s big moment came when he was chosen to play for New Zealand in their away series against India in 2021. Although he did not score any tall runs or play any spectacular innings, he will be best remembered for his 91-ball knock of 18 runs, which helped the Kiwis avoid a defeat in the Kanpur Test match. “I had dreamt of scoring big in the series against India, but the best that I came up with was a 91-ball 18 runs. I was batting at No. 8, and India was poised to post a win. I batted with a lot of grit, which enabled my team to latch on to a draw. I will not forget that innings for the rest of my life,” he said.

Thereafter, he played a couple of series for New Zealand but came on his own in the one-dayers with his big hitting and attacking style of batting. “I think I don’t have the patience for tests, as I am an attacking batsman. ODI’s is tailor-made for my style of batting, and I knew I would be a success in the white ball format,” he added.

Rachin experienced his moment of glory at the ICC World Cup, held in India earlier this year. Rachin was included in the First 15 and was not supposed to play an active role in New Zealand’s campaign.

But Lady Luck shined on him when former captain Kane Williamson was injured for New Zealand’s initial five games, giving him a chance to prove himself.

He did just that in his debut ODI World Cup match against England. This match was played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world’s largest cricket stadium. Batting at No. 4, he had a dream debut when he scored a strokeful 123 runs. In the process, he became one of the 15 players in the world to score a century on his World Cup debut. Then, he scored a couple of centuries more to cement himself as New Zealand’s Mr. Dependable.

Rachin, whose parents came to India during the World Cup, feels he has a lot more to offer. “I feel that I can be among the best batters in the world in the coming years. I just have to keep my focus going.”

Chacko Saji

With nearly two decades of experience in sports journalism, Saji Chacko is one of the few English media journalists who has had a chequered career across the three main media platforms i.e. print, television and digital. He has done a lot of human interest sports stories and is currently working on the biography of a famous sportsperson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *