CHENNAI: Rachin Ravindra defying India under fading light in Kanpur with assurance and confidence might have come as a surprise for many here in the country.
But back home in New Zealand, especially at the High-Performance Centre at Lincoln, to those, who stayed up until late at night to watch the world champions pull off a thrilling draw, witnessing Rachin safely taking Black Caps home was hardly a surprise.
The 22-year-old, who plays for Wellington Firebirds in domestic cricket, has been earmarked as a future star for over four years now. Son of Ravi Krishnamurthy, who played club-level cricket in Bengaluru and settled in Wellington, Ravindra is a product of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) talent grooming system.
Ahead of the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, Rachin who was struggling to make the cut in Wellington’s age-group system was picked for the New Zealand U-19 side as they believed his left-arm orthodox will be useful in Bangladesh conditions.
“Even then, during the practice matches and in the tournament, Rachin showed what he is capable of as a batter,” recalled Sriram Krishnamurthy, who has coached New Zealand U-19s, A team and was the batting coach of Northern Districts.
“He was always a natural bowler, with an easy action. From there he continued his steady rise and even played in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. So he has always been one of those bright talents to come out of New Zealand. Despite suffering a shoulder injury in 2017, the NZC handled his rehab and monitored his growth. That is the benefit of having a strong talent scouting system,” Sriram said.
Playing in Wellington meant, chances were few and far between for Rachin. In fact, he made his first-class debut for New Zealand A even before he represented Wellington Firebirds in the four-day tournament.
Though he didn’t pick a wicket, he scored 70 & 27 against Pakistan A team in his debut first-class fixture in Dubai.
“Here it is quite tough. There are six teams that have only 15 players in the squad and in conditions where there is no room for spinners, it is extremely difficult to find a slot unless you are really good. And since he was based in Wellington, where Basin Reserve is amongst the most seamer-friendly pitches in the world, it is not easy to be a spinner. But then, he eventually made it on the back of A team performances,” Sriram, who was a batting coach for New Zealand A then, said.
With winter bringing cricket to almost a standstill in New Zealand, Rachin has had the opportunity to hone his skills in India too.
For the past seven years, Rachin has been accompanying his father’s Hatt Hawks Club to the southern part of India, where they play against local teams. Bengaluru, Anantpur, Chennai have all been his pit stops.
“His father is his biggest support system. Right through NZC set up, when you mention Rachin, everyone will vouch for his work ethic. He is amongst the most hard-working ones,” he said.