Could Rachin Ravindra, with his Bengaluru Roots, be New Zealand’s X-Factor?

PC – Black Caps

There was tension in the air as New Zealand lost their ninth wicket in the Kanpur Test against India. Ajaz Patel, the last man, walked out to bat and within no time, was beaten twice in four deliveries. Ajaz somehow survived that over and it was time for Rachin Ravindra, Ajaz’s batting partner, to resume his innings. 

Ravindra was largely composed against the Indian Spin Triangle of Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. Yes, a few deliveries kicked out of the rough and took the edge, but Ravindra seemed to have found a way to forget the previous offering and concentrate on the very next delivery. As the natural light started to dim, the umpires used the light-meter on three separate occasions. But nothing seemed to distract Ravindra’s concentration. 

At 4:22PM, the umpires took the light-meter out for the fourth time and decided it wasn’t good enough to continue. Ravindra had navigated through a searching examination of his technique and resolve and saved a Test against the famed spin trio. “You always dream of making your Test debut, watching cricket from a very young age, and to be able to do it against India, and against Axar, Ashwin, Jadeja, three spinners at the top of their game, was pretty special,” Ravindra said to RevSportz. 

“Especially against Ashwin and Jadeja, two guys who I have watched a lot of and tried to bowl a lot like Jadeja. Ashwin and the variations, and the amount (of purchase) he gets on the ball. For me, it was (a) crazy (experience). When I was batting, I didn’t really notice much of the crowd, didn’t notice much of what was happening. Then all of a sudden, after all that had happened, I opened up, full stadium, so loud it was. It is definitely an experience that will stay with me forever.”

About two years later, in a World Cup warm-up game against Pakistan, Ravindra showcased to the Indian public that his CV doesn’t just consist of left-arm spin and blocking. He played a range of shots at the top of the order. A cover drive that he essayed while batting on zero indicated that it could be his night. The trigger was minimal and both feet moved in sync with the direction of the ball. The front-foot stride was decisive as he played a sublime stroke. Ravindra ended up with a superlative 97 and threw his hat in the ring to open the batting for New Zealand in the World Cup.

His take on that innings and also the recent England tour, where he dislodged the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan, was similar to how he plays on the field – trying to control his own destiny. “Personally, for me, it has been a great few months on tour,” he said. “The ability to test myself in different environments against different teams has been pretty cool. Especially against England, playing white-ball cricket in their own conditions is never easy. The way they come at the ball; their ball-strikers are incredible. I think it is about finding a way. 

“Going into the World Cup, it is always awesome to get an opportunity to bat at the top of the order, something I’m familiar with doing back home for Wellington, but I sort of relish any opportunity that I get. Whatever happens, will happen, not going to pressure myself too much to perform. Hopefully, all that is a by-product of your processes, training, everything that comes in your preparation. But for India, we worked towards it for a while and you always train specifically towards playing here. It should be a bit of fun.”

This season, Ravindra also batted at the top of the order in a County game versus Worcestershire and scored a double ton. It goes to show that he can adapt to different climes and formats. Scratch the surface, and underneath you see a cricketer diligently working on his skills against the moving ball. 

“He practices with Dukes ball during the winters to get the ball swinging away, so he could work on balls swinging away from him,” Sriram Krishnamurthy, former Nothern Districts assistant coach, told RevSportz. “The thing about Rachin is he most often enjoys practicing more than he would enjoy playing matches. It demands a high level of work ethic to function like that which he has in abundance. Kane is probably another example of that too. With such players, you are often assured that their level of functioning during games will be high, as they haven’t left any stone unturned with their preparation.”

PC – New Zealand X Handle


It was around a quarter-century ago that Ravindra’s parents – Ravi and Deepa Krishnamurthy – shifted from Bengaluru to New Zealand. Just like most Indians, both are ardent followers of a game involving the willow and leather. So much so that Ra-chin was named after two Indian cricket icons – Rahul and Sachin. His father had also played some cricket in Bengaluru alongside the likes of Javagal Srinath. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that his son started to pick the nuances of the game very early on.

“My parents are from Bengaluru, maybe moved to New Zealand 24-25 years ago,” said Rachin. “So, well and truly Kiwis now. But a lot of my family – grandparents, cousins, aunties, uncles come from Bengaluru. Back in the day, when I was two or three years old, I had this soft phoney bat, and dad and mum would throw a bunch of tennis balls in the backyard. I would go around and whack it, and it sort of progressed to dad throwing the ball in the garage when I was five to six years old. The formal training started when I was six to seven in the Indoor Centre in Wellington. 

“Dad used to bowl with a bowling machine, and four of us used to get in there, supervised by our coach Ivan Tissera. Those are some of my best memories before school. And after school, on weekends, on big days, six-hour training sessions. We would almost simulate a game, have a scorecard. Probably when I enjoyed cricket the most.”

Ravindra delves deeper to explain the age-group system in New Zealand and how he charted a way through it. Incidentally, to further nurture his cricketing skills, Ravindra has been touring Anantapur since 2013 to partake in various matches as part of Hutt Hawks Cricket Club. 

“The age-group system in New Zealand is great, I mean being identified from a young age, being able to play in Under-12 national tournaments, Under-13 tournaments,” he said. “You then grow up, play Under-19 national tournaments. That is the whole thing about New Zealand, quite a small place. You can actually test yourself with people around the country. 

“I love playing any sort of cricket but I think Hawks’ trips were an integral part of my development. Dad sort of first came up with it, because we only play X number of games every season. It was 10 to 15. If a couple of them get rained off, you barely play any cricket. So, he thought why not squeeze in a two-week period, three-week period in the winter and go and play some cricket in India? So many of our cricketers who have played for Wellington, or a few even for New Zealand, have gone through that tour. It is a testament to testing yourself in different conditions, and the game time you get is unmatched.”

Ravindra’s thought process of trying to control the controllables has proved to be a successful template. His breakout season was in 2019-20, when he crunched his maiden List A hundred. He also accrued 507 runs at an average 46.09 in first-class cricket. In the very next season, he bagged 16 scalps in the Plunket Shield.

Outside of the controllables though, an unseen danger could be lurking around the corner.  In January 2021, Ravindra suffered a shoulder injury in a T20 Super Smash game. The initial diagnosis was that he would need a surgery, but eventually it worked out well as he didn’t need one. “I did my shoulder twice, maybe when I was 16 or 17,” he said. “I had required surgery then, but I had no problem with it until I was 21. 

“That incident against Christchurch at the Basin was quite frustrating, because I had a reasonable New Zealand A period. You think you could be close to some selection, especially with COVID-19 and extended squads. It felt like, ‘this couldn’t be, sitting nine months out’. Lucky enough for me, there were no surgery gaps available for the next sort of four weeks. Surgeon was like let’s see if we can rehab and do strengthening and check in four weeks. Lucky enough, it pulled up okay. It definitely was a bit of a grindy rehab. Look, four weeks is a lot better than nine months (laughs).”

Many moons ago, when New Zealand announced their squad for the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, Ravindra was just 15. He compiled only 58 runs with the bat, although he did better with the ball in that World Cup. “I was picked for development, on the basis that I was going to be a big part of the team,” he said looking back. In other words, Ravindra has been earmarked for success from a very young age. 

Seven years later, he has done his apprenticeship in various practice arenas and a breakout season at the highest level is around the corner. Perhaps it could be the World Cup? 


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