CHENNAI: After making a blistering start to his World Cup journey, young New Zealand allrounder Rachin Ravindra is looking to ride the crest as the Kiwis prepare for the Chennai leg of their tour, starting with the game against Bangladesh on Friday.
In an exclusive interaction with TOI here on Wednesday, the 23-year-old Ravindra, who smashed a match-winning ton against England in Ahmedabad and a half-century against the Netherlands in Hyderabad, attributed his early World Cup success to the relaxed environment in the Black Caps dressing-room.
From playing your first U-19 World Cup in 2016 as a 16-year-old, to representing New Zealand in the men’s World Cup, how has the journey been?
I am privileged to have been part of two U-19 World Cups (2016 and 2018). Whenever you play the (U-19) WC, you get a taste of what the (senior) WC is about. It gives you the hunger to play for your senior national team. Progressing from the U-19s to domestic and international cricket, and everything in between, they have been pretty special. I have loved every step and hopefully, it continues.
You have made a fantastic start to the World Cup. What has worked?
The beauty of the Black Caps culture is that you can go out and express yourself. You do not feel unnecessary pressure. You have the backing of the coaches and teammates, so you just go out and do your thing. It is pretty special for a young player like me. The team had so much success in the previous tournaments and it is important for me to feel relaxed. Technically, you always work on your game to take it forward. Staying calm and being in the moment- the whole environment has encouraged us to do that.
How vital is the role clarity provided by the team?
The right messages are communicated and they help you to play with freedom. When we play with freedom, we are able to give our best and react to what is in front of us. We obviously have gun players; we also have really good people. We love spending time with each other and that is the most important thing. It sort of translates to what happens on the pitch.
Has your style of play helped you adapt seamlessly to Indian pitches?
Batting in India is always fun; the wickets are good to bat on and the outfields are fast. You need not necessarily hit the ball hard for boundaries. Having a classical technique for pitches that are true, you trust the bounce and the speed of the outfield.
What have you learnt from your New Zealand teammate Mitchell Santner and India’s Ravindra Jadeja, who ply the same trade (left-hand bat and left-arm spin) as yours?
Santner is an unbelievable white-ball bowler. His ability to change his pace and length…the revs he gets on the ball is amazing. I have been working with him, in terms of plans and field placements. Jadeja has done the thing for a long time now, in world cricket. I admire his consistency. He has transformed his batting in the last four-five years; he is a genuine No. 6. When it comes to his bowling, the pace he bowls at makes it special. I am lucky to be rubbing shoulders with guys who I idolized.