Cricket: Rachin Ravindra 'banging down the door' to return to Blackcaps test side against Bangladesh

While the Blackcaps are undecided on the playing XI for Tuesday's opening test against Bangladesh, squeezing Rachin Ravindra into the side could be the toughest task for captain Tim Southee and coach Gary Stead.  

Over the past two months, Ravindra, 24, has become a household name in New Zealand, due to his heroics at the Cricket World Cup in India.  

After playing his international career as an all-rounder at No.7, a move to the top of the order, with one-day captain Kane Williamson unavailable, proved to be a revelation.

Rachin Ravindra hasn't played a test since 2021.
Rachin Ravindra hasn't played a test since 2021. Photo credit: Photosport

In 10 games either opening or batting at No.3, Ravindra scored 578 runs at an average of more than 64, with centuries against England, Australia and Pakistan.

He has made no secret of his desire to succeed in test cricket, where he has played just three times, batting at No.7, with an average of less than 15 and a high score of 18 not out. 

As seen at the World Cup, Ravindra's best performances will come batting in the top order.   

As the Blackcaps prepare to face Bangladesh in two tests over the coming weeks, his return could be key in conditions similar to the World Cup.  

With spin-friendly surfaces expected in Bangladesh, New Zealand have picked five slow-bowling options for the series. Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi stand tall as the two specialists, while Mitchell Santner could play his first test in more than two years as a bowling all-rounder.  

Meanwhile, Ravindra and Glenn Phillips could both also push for selection, selected as batters who can offer overs with the ball in support of the frontline bowlers.

Rachin Ravindra against Australia.
Rachin Ravindra against Australia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Given his displays at the World Cup, Ravindra may just have done enough to play his first test since the start of 2021.

"He's obviously had a phenomenal period of time at the World Cup," said Southee. "We've known he's an exciting talent and he's had a phenomenal run over the last few weeks.

"The test side has been reasonably settled over the last wee while. It's been a tough side to crack into, but he's doing everything he can to find a way into the test side."

Ravindra is unlikely to break into New Zealand's top order, with the trio of Tom Latham, Devon Conway and Williamson settled in test cricket. With Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls both likely to continue in the middle order, one spot is up for grabs, either at No.6 or No.7, depending on how the Blackcaps look to fill it.

Given the need for runs from the middle order, Ravindra and Phillips will likely contest that selection race ahead of Santner. 

Southee welcomes that dilemma, with the former seemingly ahead, given his recent form. 

"It's great to have those sort of problems, where you've got guys banging down the door," added Southee.

"I can't explain how amazing [Ravindra's] been over the last few weeks. It's about trying to fit him into the side.

"He offers so much as a top order batter who's able to bowl. It's just around where we fit him in."

The Blackcaps playing XI for the first test against Bangladesh will be confirmed at the toss in Sylhet.

Watch live, free-to-air coverage of the first test between the Blackcaps and Bangladesh on ThreeNow from 4pm, Tuesday