New Zealand cricket has a new star in the shape of all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, after the 23-year-old lit up the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
Four years ago, Ravindra was glued to a TV while on a youth cricket tour of India, watching his country slip to the narrowest of defeats in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final against England.
Four years on, Ravindra is back in India, but this time it is the emerging all-rounder who was the star on show, obliterating England with a stunning century in the opening match of the 2023 edition of the tournament.
It was a particularly special moment to break through onto the world stage for a New Zealander born to Indian parents.
“I think a hundred is always special, but I guess in terms of being able to perform in India, it’s cool to have the Indian roots. It was nice to have my parents there watching – they flew over from New Zealand,” Ravindra said.
“It’s cool to have that moment and obviously it’s always nice coming to India. I have a sense of family connection whenever I’m in Bangalore, being able to see my grandparents and stuff, it’s pretty cool.”
If you think Ravindra’s first name sounds familiar, it’s because he was named by his cricket-loving parents after two of the great Indian batters – Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
“I think those two (Dravid and Tendulkar) are pretty special cricketers. I’ve 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’s guys you look at: I love Lara, I love Sangakkara, just the usual gun left-handers; but Tendulkar was definitely the idol.”
Ravindra’s blistering 123* came from just 96 deliveries, featured five sixes and 11 fours, and broke the spirit of England’s struggling bowling attack.
It was also the first time that the youngster had played in the top three in a full ODI for New Zealand, boosted up the order after impressing in the warm-up matches as a stand-in opener.
“I think I’m pretty lucky that I was able to get the chance to bat at three. I’ve opened the batting for my domestic team… so it’s somewhere I’m familiar batting, and I really enjoy batting at the top too,” Ravindra said.