Rachin feels Mirpur wicket was a ‘one-off’

Rachin feels mirpur wicket was a ‘one-off’0

Rachin Ravindra of New Zealand did not exactly strike the ground running on his international debut, but he caught the eye during the World Cup in India. Rachin has been setting records in his own unique way. He may have had a quiet trip of Bangladesh, not playing in the Test series, but he has been keeping an eye on things. As he spoke with The Daily Star’s Abdullah Al Mehdi after the second Test, he discussed the Kiwi side’s atmosphere, a terrific maiden World Cup, and the Mirpur wicket.

DS: Have you played here before, and how was your experience, including this tour?

RR: I believe it’s quite contrasting. We had a one-day series here before the World Cup, after all. It’s been really fantastic to be able to play three different formats in a nation where the conditions are so different from what we’re used to at home. Obviously, the cricket is challenging, as we saw in Mirpur. It’s a really difficult surface to play on. That, in my opinion, improves your game and makes you a better cricketer overall. A drawn series is appealing to me. It was a reflection of how the two games played out. So, sure, visiting Bangladesh is always fun.

DS: What is the challenge’s specialty here, and how do you tackle the criticism of the type of wickets at Mirpur?

RR: For one thing, it provided a result, and I always believe that in Test cricket, you want results and the opportunity to win or lose a game.

In terms of criticism, I believe it is beneficial to us as players. Yes, you may not get the runs you desired, and a solid score in Test matches may not be 150-180. Look, 50 or 60 [individually] is a really excellent score for me. So, I think you should reassess your expectations on that, and, well, as an international cricketer, you have to play on different surfaces all around the world.

The ball that sometimes turns and sometimes doesn’t, I believe, is the challenge. So, I think it demonstrated that the way Glenn Phillips batted, his aggression, and the way he took the game on is something I’d do if given the chance. Because, obviously, if you sit there, you’re going to receive a decent delivery, and the spinners in Bangladesh are incredibly accurate. We can argue about the surface all we want, but at the end of the day, it’s a Test match, and you want to play in tough conditions.

DS: Have you ever been in a situation like that?

RR: No, I mean, you might have that every now and then on the subcontinent, maybe even in India, but the bounce is typically more real.

I believe this is a true indication of your technique in terms of how you get in position to score and defend against the ball that spins away past your bat or skids on and strikes your pads. As you can see, it’s definitely testing. Even though there was rain and horrible lighting, the game only lasted two days, and it might have ended in two days if we had a full 90 every day. But if you go back to Sylhet, you’ll get a different surface, a good cricket wicket, and it apparently goes to day five, so it’s nice to have two extremes.

DS: But how can you prepare for something like Mirpur? Do you think that was a one-time occurrence?

RR: It’s absolutely challenging, so [one-time]. But you’re always trying to turn every stone in terms of preparation before going out. Those practice wickets must have helped a lot in being able to just challenge yourself with that. It’s more challenging when you’re on tour. I believe when you’re in World Cup mood, you get on great true wickets in India, or flat wickets as they call them. So, trying to balance that when you’re on the road so often is obviously a struggle.

I believe it is equally important to be particular in your training. Even if the practice pitch isn’t as fantastic as it could be, there’s always something to work on and better.

DS: This is a special World Cup for you because you broke the record for most hundreds in a World Cup before the age of 25. What are your feelings, and how did you display such confidence?

RR: I guess it was really odd; I think the freedom came from the setting, from being allowed to express myself as a cricketer. That, too, with men who are so dependable. That first game [England] was obviously better with Devon [Conway]. He’s a top-tier cricketer. I’ve spent a lot of time with him, who is one of my best friends. So it’s good to see a familiar face, and you can simply go about your business and play your natural game. That has been crucial in terms of our New Zealand environment. Everyone is kind of ‘be yourself and play the game’ that they believe will benefit the squad. I guess I was lucky enough to be in positions where I could take on the game during the World Cup, and it all worked out luckily.

DS: What distinguishes New Zealand from other worldwide sides besides community and friendship?

RR: To be honest, it’s difficult for me to talk for many international sides since I haven’t been active in their atmosphere, so I wouldn’t know. Speaking for the New Zealand team, I guess we’re all kind of good pals; we like playing together and enjoying each other’s company off the field. We always enjoy a good laugh and a good joke, but at the end of the day, I think we all recognize what the common purpose and objective is: being able to push the team ahead. All personal awards, runs, wickets, and so forth shall be included. Not necessarily me, but the guys have been a bunch for such a long time that everyone knows each other very well and knows each other’s games, and that trust exists. It’s been a few years for me in the group, and having the men put their trust in me is quite remarkable.

DS: You mentioned Conway. What about Williamson or Tim Southee as mentors and friends?

RR: I’ve spent a lot of time with Timmy and Kano over the last few years, but obviously not as much as I have with Dev and [Tom] Blundell, but they’re all excellent mentors.

The way they conduct themselves on and off the field, their level of competition, and how they go about their processes. There’s a reason they’ve been playing international cricket for over a decade and have had so much success with this team. So, I believe you should do everything you can to learn from them.

They’re like fantastic teammates to have on the field. They teach you the game because they are amazing mentors and such wonderful students of the game.

DS: In the past, New Zealand has produced excellent all-rounders. Did you look up to all-rounders like Shakib Al Hasan when you were younger?

RR: Obviously, Shakib has put in a lot of time. Jadeja is also one of such men. People who bowl left-arm spin and bat left-handed will always have an attraction for you, but I didn’t necessarily follow around because I wanted to be like Vettori, and I really wanted to bat like Sachin, Dravid, Ponting, Lara, and all those guys.

I believe as a New Zealander, I enjoyed watching Ross Taylor bat. Growing up, he was my favorite. And then, obviously, as a teenager, you see what Kane did and want to be like Kane.

DS: Did you manage to hash things out with Kane before joining the team?

RR: No. I suppose it was just watching from a distance and being able to see what he accomplished. When you’re able to share a changing room with those people and you’re banding with them and stuff, it puts things into perspective as a youngster watching them play and you’re like, ‘wow, one day you could be connected with these guys.’ So it’s definitely a unique sensation.

DS: As an all-rounder, where do you see yourself in the future?

RR: I suppose if you asked most people around me, they’d probably say, ‘he displays maybe a little more interest in his batting or is more of a batting all-rounder,’ which I believe is true right now, but I want to continue attempting to be a serious all-rounder in the future. One who is extremely valuable to a side if they have someone in the top three who can bowl four overs in T20s, ten overs in one-dayers, or long stints in a red ball game. I think it’s more about wanting to contribute to the team and doing anything I can to better my talents so that I can leave my imprint on a game. I guess it’s good to be involved all the time because even if you don’t score the runs you want with the bat, you can still have an impact on the game with the ball and vice versa. So that’s what piques my curiosity in the all-rounder moniker.

DS: Could you name someone that you generally looked up to?

RR: I didn’t think to myself, “Oh, that’d be cool.” I believe it is critical for me to be myself and perform what I do well, since this will help me win games regardless of which team I play for. I certainly look up to all the men who came before me and my role models, but I think I’m just trying to do it the best way I know how and keep improving.

DS: How upsetting was it not to be selected for the Test eleven?

RR: I think the issue with the Black Caps Test side right now is that there are a lot of guys in front of me who have been doing it for a number of years, built fantastic records, and contributed so much to the team. It’s about not being impatient for me. I’m young enough that whatever happens, I’ll end up playing a lot of cricket, but I think it’s understanding that the guy in front of me is a very, very good cricketer, so it’s just the nature of the beast, and, you know, it’s so good to see someone like Glenn come back in and get a man of the match. Yes, whether you’re playing or not, seeing them here was a learning experience.

DS: Did you love the environment and find it difficult not to play?

RR: Without a doubt. I believe you constantly try to help each other and the team. It’s incredibly satisfying to win a Test, you know, they don’t come around very often, so the accumulation of you know how many days of labor for it to finish and the manner we did it was quite fantastic.

Not really [had a difficult time]. I believe it’s about celebrating each other’s achievement, and I believe that if you’re sad about not playing and you carry that kind of negativity and everything around, it probably doesn’t bode good for the team.

DS: You were named after two great Indian cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Did you ever wonder who these guys were when they were younger?

RR: I believe I knew when I was four or five years old. Dad used to watch a lot of cricket when I was little, and it was always on, so I believe I caught it up organically at some point. It’s an honor to be named after those two Indian greats, but we don’t talk about it much anymore.

DS: Do you have a message for Bangladesh fans?

RR: Thank you for your hospitality and fanfare. Having been here a number of times, it’s clear how obsessed Bangladesh is with cricket. It’s cool to see it all, and we’ve soaked up every single moment from a hard-fought series, and we look forward to welcoming you to New Zealand.

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