ICC World Cup: Meet Rachin Ravindra, who turned heads against England

The unbeaten 123 against the world champions could be the watershed moment in 23-year-old’s career

Rachin Ravindra's 
(Photo courtesy: X/Mufaddal_vohra)
Rachin Ravindra's (Photo courtesy: X/Mufaddal_vohra)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

There were enough signs of quality, and intent, when young Rachin Ravindra scored a sparkling 97 to play a key role in New Zealand chasing down a 340-plus total in their warm-up game against Pakistan the other day. Not many, however, expected a jaw-dropping century on his World Cup debut so soon. 

The 23-year-old’s 123 from 96 deliveries against an attack of England’s quality was so impactful that it became the talking point of the evening after empty stands at the Narendra Modi Stadium made for a lukewarm start to the marquee event earlier in the day. It tended to overshadow senior partner Devon Conway’s unbeaten 152, though Ravindra insisted he was ‘lucky’ to have the former as a partner during their record 273-run partnership for the second wicket.  

For Ravindra, who made his ODI debut only in March this year, the match-winning innings was surely a watershed moment. In his debut outing against Sri Lanka, he scored a match-winning 49 to help his team win by 198 runs but in his 13 appearances so far, he did not quite set the stage on fire – until Thursday. 

He has scored 312 runs at an average of 39 so far while his handy left-arm spin has earned him 13 wickets at an economy of 6.31. When the Kiwis take on The Netherlands in their second Cup game on Monday, the smart looking No.3 batter will find that the expectations of him have sky-rocketed.  

It’s not exactly a surprise that Ravindra has Sachin Tendulkar as his idol for one of the few well circulated stories about him was his father, Ravi Krishnamurthy, naming him ‘Rachin’ after the two Indian greats - Rahul Dravid and the Master Blaster. ‘’As a left-hander, I have admired the gun batters like Brian Lara and Kumar Sangakkara but if you are talking about an idol, it has got to be Tendulkar,’’ the Player of the Match said at the media conference in Ahmedabad.  

An enthusiastic club level cricketer himself, Rachindra’s father – a Bangalorean software design architect - migrated to New Zealand in the 1990s. Ravindra made his U-19 World Cup debut in the 2016 edition too young but was more impactful in the 2018 edition of the tournament, picking up 13 wickets from six matches to finish among the top five wicket takers’ list. 

Ravindra’s allround abilities started getting noticed and he was awarded with a contract with Wellington for the 2018-19 domestic season. He went onto make his List A debut during a match between New Zealand A and Pakistan A on 21 October, 2018, and just nine games later, he would make his first-class debut against the same opposition. 

It the 2019-20 Ford Trophy, Ravindra scored his maiden century in List A cricket and the same season, he scored his maiden first-class century during the sixth round of Plunket Shield.  

Ravindra made his T20I debut against Bangladesh in Mirpur, where he registered figures of 1/21. The same year, he was a part of the New Zealand squad for the World Test Championship final against India in June 2021 and saw his team lay hands on the prestigious trophy in it’s augural edition. However, he made his Test debut in November that year - also against India.

A big hand to Ravindra - here's in the hope that more such innings will follow...

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