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Rachin Ravindra, a rising star, makes his debut on the world stage.

Rachin Ravindra, a rising star, makes his debut on the world stage.

Rachin Ravindra, the 23-year-old all-rounder who lit up the opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, has emerged as a new star for New Zealand cricket.

Ravindra was glued to a TV four years ago while on a youth cricket tour of India, watching his country suffer a narrow defeat in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final against England.

Four years later, Ravindra is back in India, but this time it is the emerging all-rounder who is the star of the show, obliterating England with a stunning century in the opening match of the 2023 World Cup.

It was a particularly special moment for a New Zealander born to Indian parents to break through onto the world stage.

“I think a hundred is always special, but I guess having Indian roots is cool in terms of being able to perform in India.” “It was great to have my parents there, who flew in from New Zealand,” Ravindra said.

“It’s cool to have that moment, and it’s always nice to come to India.” When I’m in Bangalore, I feel a sense of family connection; seeing my grandparents and other relatives is pretty cool.”

 

If Ravindra’s first name sounds familiar, it’s because his cricket-loving parents named him after two of India’s greatest batters, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

“Those two (Dravid and Tendulkar) are pretty special cricketers in my opinion.” “I’ve heard a lot of stories and seen a lot of footage, and I guess the influence from my parents and dad, as well as the old-school Indian cricketers, was pretty cool,” Ravindra said.

“Obviously, Sachin Tendulkar was my idol.” I believe many people did. I thought the way he batted and his technique were stunning to watch. I guess as a lefty, you look at guys like Lara, Sangakkara, and the usual gun left-handers, but Tendulkar was definitely the idol.”

Ravindra’s blistering 123* off 96 deliveries included five sixes and 11 fours, breaking the spirit of England’s struggling bowling attack.

It was also the first time the youngster had batted in the top three in a full ODI for New Zealand, after impressing as a stand-in opener in the warm-up matches.

“I consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to bat at three. “I’ve opened the batting for my domestic team… so it’s a position I’m familiar with, and I also enjoy batting at the top,” Ravindra explained.

It remains to be seen whether Ravindra continues in the top three once Kane Williamson is fit to return, but he has made the strongest case and will be helped by his all-rounder status.

The spinner bowled a full set of ten overs against England, but he wasn’t thrilled with his 1/76 figures.

“Obviously, as a player, I want to be a genuine all-rounder and hopefully continue to be a genuine all-rounder in the future.” But I’m content with whatever labels are applied to me,” Ravindra said.

“It may not have turned out as well as I would have liked today, but that’s the beauty of cricket.” I believe that some days are better than others. So we’ll look at it, review it, and hopefully return next game.”

The youngster’s attacking intent with the bat was crucial to New Zealand’s powerplay blitz, putting his team well ahead of the run-rate and limiting England’s three-pronged spin attack’s potential through the middle overs.

The runs kept coming for the Kiwis after Chris Woakes and Mark Wood took the early punishment.

“We played against him recently, and he got some runs at Lord’s and played really well,” said opposing captain Jos Buttler after witnessing Ravindra’s brilliance.

“Obviously, I think he opened the batting and played really well in the warm-up game in Hyderabad.”

“If I look back, I don’t think the two guys were playing outrageous shots or scooping it over the keeper’s head. They hit some great cricket shots and got a great deal on that pitch. For the bowlers, the margin felt very small, and if you were a little off, they put you away.

“I thought those two played really, really well and put together obviously a quite incredible partnership.”

Ravindra’s unbroken 273-run stand with Devon Conway is New Zealand’s highest ever at a global tournament, and his first international century is also his country’s fastest in men’s one-day internationals, coming off 82 balls and breaking Conway’s earlier record in this same match.

“The best thing was that they played good cricket shots, which was the most pleasing thing,” said New Zealand captain Tom Latham.

“They simply reacted to what was being bowled, but it was not their intention to come out and play that way.”

“He (Ravindra) played a fantastic innings, and we’re very proud of him and how he’s performed.” It’s his first ODI in that position, and we’re excited to get past him tonight.”

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