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Breakout Black Caps star Rachin Ravindra excited about IPL debut

10:50 am on 22 March 2024

If Rachin Ravindra hadn't been on the international cricket world radar before, the Black Caps star certainly is now.

After a remarkable 2023 World Cup in India and season with the national squad, Ravindra is preparing to join the Chennai Super Kings for his Indian Premier League debut.

He was scooped up by the five-time IPL winners and defending IPL champion alongside fellow Black Cap Daryl Mitchell at the player auction in December.

Ravindra and Mitchell join national teammates Devon Conway and Mitchell Santner at the Chennai-based team for the season.

"I'm excited to sink my teeth in and experience what it's like to be in the IPL," Ravindra says.

He also says that he's excited to be around players such as former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and a coaching team containing the likes of Stephen Fleming and Mike Hussey.

Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell along with other Chennai Super Kings players in India.

Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell have been included in the Chennai Super Kings squad for the Indian Premier League this season. Photo: Instagram / Chennai Super Kings

In October, the 24-year-old from Wellington made an unforgettable World Cup debut with three centuries, accumulating 578 runs and setting a World Cup record.

He surpassed the previous record held by Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar for the most runs scored by a batter aged 25 or under at a World Cup.

"The World Cup was a very special experience and I'm very grateful," Ravindra says.

He continued to perform well in all three formats for New Zealand after the World Cup, including a double test century against South Africa in Mount Maunganui.

Ravindra's stellar performances in 2023 also earned him many accolades, including the ICC Men's Emerging Cricketer of the Year award, in addition to becoming the youngest player to receive the Sir Richard Hadlee award.

"It's great to be recognised by New Zealand Cricket and especially by the legend Sir Richard Hadlee," he says. "It's extremely special and I feel truly honoured to receive the award."

Awards are not new to Ravindra. He was identified early as a player of distinctive promise, winning the Gillette Cup award for young cricketer of the year in 2016.

From the Hutt to the Black Caps

Ravindra started playing cricket when he was young.

"I guess it sort of came from my parents, especially my dad," he says.

He started hitting cricket balls when he was 6 years old and used to take his dad to the nets every day.

"All that training has helped me a lot now sort of built my foundational game," Ravindra says.

New Zealand's batsman Rachin Ravindra celebrates his century with captain Kane Williamson during their World Cup group match against Pakistan.

Rachin Ravindra celebrates with Kane Williamson after scoring a century during a 2023 World Cup group match against Pakistan. Photo: photosport

He took cricket seriously in school at the Hutt International Boys' School, starting to play in the first 11 in Year 9 and ending up playing club cricket in Years 12 and 13.

Ravindra recalls that school was a priority for him.

"I think it's important to have that balance," he says. "You can't just be a cricketer these days - there's more to life than that."

Ravindra found his way to the under-19 national team and was included in the ODI World Cup squads for 2016 and 2018.

He scored his maiden first-class century at the 2020 Plunket Shield and was included in the New Zealand A side.

In 2021, he made it to the Black Caps test squad but didn't get the chance to play until the T20 series against Bangladesh.

His test debut was against India later the same year, followed by his international debut against Sri Lanka in March last year.

Ravindra's emergence in the Black Caps lineup continues an impressive legacy of Indian descent players leaving their mark on New Zealand cricket.

"It's a dream come true moment being able to share a locker room with Kane, Bolt and Southee," Ravindra says. "I've watched those guys on TV for a number of years and tried to be like them in the backyard."

Indian heritage

"I'm very grateful for my heritage and I'm really proud of it," Ravindra says. "But, at the end of the day, I'm a New Zealander, I'm a Kiwi."

His parents moved to New Zealand in the 1990s.

Ravindra's dad, Ravi Krishnamoorthy, hails from Bengaluru, a southern Indian city that is also the hometown of resolute Indian cricket star Rahul Dravid.

With his father being a former club player and cricket enthusiast, his son's first name is a blend of two Indian cricketing legends - Tendulkar and Dravid.

"it's obviously very special that I'm named after those two great Indian players, but I think, at the end of the day, I'm my own person and that's what matters most," Ravindra says.

Rachin Ravindra is getting ready to join the Chennai Super Kings for his Indian Premier League debut.

Rachin Ravindra is preparing to join the Chennai Super Kings for his Indian Premier League debut. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

He has met Dravid, the former Indian men's national team captain, a few times, with the last meeting being after New Zealand's semifinal defeat against India at the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

"I've not met Sachin yet, but I'll try to meet him hopefully soon," he says.

Ravindra still has many relatives in India and wants to visit them if he can during the IPL.

In 2011, his father started the Hutt Hawkes cricket club, which Ravindra joined the same year.

The club tours India every year to play matches in different Indian cities.

"Obviously, it helped me learn some skills that I made use of during the World Cup," he says.

Kane Williamson is Ravindra's favourite New Zealand cricketer, while he looks up to Tendulkar as his ultimate cricket hero.

Comparing all three formats, he says he enjoys one day cricket the most.

Outside of cricket, Ravindra loves to hang out with friends, watch basketball and spend time playing PlayStation.

"I'm always going to have aspirations to get better as a cricketer and grow myself as a person," he says.

"What's important to me is to be able to live in the moment, work hard and do what I can."

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