Rachin Ravindra of New Zealand did not quite burst out on his international debut, but he went on to become one of the star players in his inaugural World Cup, setting records in his own right. The 24-year-old had a quiet tour to Bangladesh, missing out on a Test series appearance, but he has been keeping a close eye on things. After the just finished second Test, he chatted with Abdullah Al Mehdi of The Daily Star on the Kiwi side’s atmosphere, a fantastic inaugural World Cup, the Mirpur wicket, and more.
DS: You’ve previously played in Bangladesh. Please tell us about your entire experience.
RR: I suppose it’s quite contrasting. It’s been amazing to be able to play in different forms in environments so different from home. Obviously, it’s difficult cricket, but I believe it improves your game and makes you a better player in the long run. 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: How do you approach a contentious wicket like Mirpur?
RR: I always believe that in Test cricket, you want outcomes and the opportunity to win or lose a game of cricket.
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. Individually, 50 or 60 is a really good score for me. So, I believe you should reconsider your expectations in this regard. And, hey, as an international cricketer, you must play on various surfaces all over the world.
DS: What is the secret to your confidence in the India World Cup?
RR: I suppose that was a little strange. The freedom came from the surroundings, and being able to express myself as a cricketer. That, too, with guys who are so trustworthy. 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; he’s one of my best friends. 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: Is there a sense of community that distinguishes the New Zealand team from others?
RR: It’s difficult to speak for diverse international factions. Speaking for the New Zealand team, I’d say 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 chuckle and a good joke. But, at the end of the day, I believe we all recognize the shared goal and objective: being able to propel the team forward. All personal awards, runs, wickets, and so forth shall be included.
DS: You mentioned Conway. Consider Williamson or Southee as mentors.
RR: I’ve spent some time with Timmy [Tim Southee] and Kano [Kane Williamson] over the last few years, but not nearly as much as I have with Dev [Devon Conway] and [Tom] Blundell. But they’re all fantastic teachers.
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: Did you get the opportunity to consult with Williamson before making the team?
RR: No. I suppose it was just watching from a distance and being able to see what he accomplished. As a kid, you think to yourself, “Wow, one day you could be involved with these guys.” So it’s definitely a unique sensation.
DS: Did you look up to people like Shakib Al Hasan when you were younger?
RR: Obviously, Shakib has put in a lot of time. [Ravindra] Jadeja as well. People who bowl left-arm spin and bat left-handed are always ones you’re going to have a little affinity for, but I didn’t necessarily follow around because I wanted to bat like Sachin [Tendulkar], [Rahul] Dravid, [Ricky] Ponting, [Brian] Lara, 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: Where do you envision yourself as an all-rounder in all formats?
RR: I guess most people around me would probably say, ‘he shows maybe a little more interest in his batting or is more of a batting all-rounder,’ which I think is true right now, but I want to continue trying to be a genuine all-rounder in the future — one who is very valuable for a team if you have someone in the top three who can bowl four overs in T20s, 10 in one-dayers, or long spells in red ball games.
It’s nice to be involved all the time. Even if you don’t get the runs you desire with the bat, you may influence the game with the ball, and vice versa. So that’s what piques my curiosity in the all-rounder moniker.
DS: Is it disappointing that you did not make the Test eleven?
RR: I think the problem 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 long time, accrued tremendous records, and contributed so much to the team. It’s about not being impatient for me.
Whatever happens, I’m still young enough to play a lot of cricket. But I think it’s simply the nature of the beast because the man in front of me is a very, very excellent cricketer. It’s great to see Glenn [Phillips] come back in and win man of the match. Yes, whether you’re playing or not, seeing them here was a learning experience.