Rachin Ravindra: If you can play Ashwin, Jadeja in Indian conditions, you can tackle most spinners

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra, who has Indian roots, hopes to see his local relatives during the A-team’s third unofficial Test against India-A at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from Thursday.

Rachin Ravindr during the second ‘Test’ between India-A and New Zealand-A at Hubballi.

Rachin Ravindr during the second ‘Test’ between India-A and New Zealand-A at Hubballi. | Photo Credit: KIRAN BAKALE

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra, who has Indian roots, hopes to see his local relatives during the A-team’s third unofficial Test against India-A at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from Thursday.

The gritty fight against the odds to secure a draw in a Test match is one of cricket’s unique delights. Rachin Ravindra could experience the gratification of saving a Test on his debut, for New Zealand against India at Kanpur last November.

He came in at No. 8 and played 91 balls for his unbeaten 18. The last wicket stand, with Ajaz Patel, was unbroken after 8.4 overs.

On a rainy, windy evening in this small, beautiful Karnataka city, Ravindra breaks into his hearty smile when he recalls that effort. “It was a great experience, facing R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in front of a massive crowd,” he tells Sportstar a little after the second ‘Test’ between India A and New Zealand A was rained off. “They are the best spinners in the world and were bowling in helpful conditions. If you could play those guys, you could play most spinners.”

The 22-year-old all-rounder believes such games prove that Test cricket is not dying at all. “I think such draws are so exciting,” he says. “And the way England played against us recently – though we got pumped – also makes Test cricket exciting.”

Though he wants to do well in all the formats – he has already played six T20Is – it is Test cricket that he loves most. And among the current generation of players, the two men he admires the most have been fabulous in Tests – Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson.

“I look up to them, both,” Ravindra says. “Virat averages around 50 in all the three formats and that is difficult to achieve. He is all class and plays with so much intensity, unlike anybody else. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t score a hundred for two years. He inspires people.”

There are two former Indian greats that he admires – Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. His name is actually a combination of the first names of the two legends.

His name also reveals that he has roots in India. In fact, he has many relatives in Bengaluru, where he caught the eye with his left-arm spin.

“I have both my sets of grandparents in Bengaluru, and uncles and aunts as well,” he says. “I will make sure they will come to watch me play in the third ‘Test’ (which starts at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday).”

He must be hoping to make a big score in that game, opening the innings. “Though I have batted lower down the order for New Zealand in Tests, which is understandable, I like being an opener,” he says. “That is what I normally do, even in domestic cricket back home.”

The New Zealand-A coach Rob Walter believes Ravindra could be a genuine all-rounder. “Yes, I want to be an all-rounder,” he says.

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