Cricket: Breakout Blackcaps star Rachin Ravindra sets sights on test starting spot after sensational World Cup campaign

Fresh from his emergence as the rising star of the Cricket World Cup, Rachin Ravindra's attention has now turned to cracking the Blackcaps' test ranks.

Only selected after injuries to captain Kane Williamson and all-rounder Michael Bracewell, the 24-year-old didn't take a backwards step during this year's tournament in India.

In 10 games, Ravindra scored 578 runs at an average of more than 64, with centuries against England, Australia and Pakistan.

And as proof of his value as a batting all-rounder, Ravindra also took five wickets in support of the Blackcaps' frontline bowlers.

Rachin Ravindra against Australia at the Cricket World Cup.
Rachin Ravindra against Australia at the Cricket World Cup. Photo credit: Getty Images

But while success in coloured clothing has come quickly for Ravindra, doing the same in white is now where his attention lies, after selection in New Zealand's 15-strong group to face Bangladesh over the coming weeks.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket," said Ravindra. "Any opportunity you get to play for New Zealand, especially in a test match, is pretty special, even being involved in the squad.

"I loved my first experience of test cricket a couple of years ago. I'm excited to see how my game has evolved and join the group again."

Already, Ravindra has played three tests since his debut in late 2021 - albeit with limited success.

In six innings, he's scored just 73 runs at an average of less than 15, to go with three wickets at more than 63.

But while those numbers hardly jump off the page, Ravindra has shown he can handle the pressure of test cricket.  

On debut, he batted for an hour and a half to make 18 not out, and save the first test between the Blackcaps and India in Kanpur.

Additionally, those first three tests came with Ravindra playing out of position, batting at No.7 as an all-rounder, rather than his true role of a top order player who offers overs with the ball when needed.

After their last test series, a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka to end the New Zealand summer earlier this year, Ravindra will face a hard task in breaking into the New Zealand top order.

Rachin Ravindra celebrates.
Rachin Ravindra celebrates. Photo credit: Getty Images

The top three of Tom Latham, Devon Conway and Kane Williamson is largely settled, while Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell are also largely locked in.

One possible move could see Ravindra slot in to open the batting alongside Latham, with Conway dropping down to the No.4 position that's been troublesome to fill since Ross Taylor's retirement.

And in Bangladesh, where spin will play a huge factor in either side forcing a result in conditions that will be dire for bowlers, Ravindra's bowling could be decisive in him winning selection for the series opener starting in Sylhet on Tuesday.

Regardless of if and where he plays, Ravindra is prepared to suit his game to what the Blackcaps need in the longest format.

"It obviously depends," he added. "It's a different role for sure.  

"It's not a new ball, you might come in straight away facing the spinners. I think it's [about] wrapping your head around that and seeing what sort of way you can adjust your gameplan.

"The beauty of it is you contribute whatever way you can for the team, no matter what role it is.

"Hopefully you can contribute to a win."

The Blackcaps have picked five spin options in their 15-man squad, with Ravindra complementing Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Ajaz Patel, alongside the part-time off-spin of Glenn Phillips.

And with only three specialist seam bowlers in the squad – Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson – it's more than plausible the Blackcaps enter the first test with at least three spin options in the playing XI.

"Obviously we've got a seriously strong spin group," he continued. "Jazzy [Patel] Sant [Santner], Ish and GP [Phillips].

"[I'll be] trying to learn my best off those boys. I'll be trying to understand what they do well, but doing it my way.

"We're all different bowlers in our own right. It's nice to have some balance in our spin attack."