Cricket World Cup: Blackcaps teammates keeping rising star Rachin Ravindra grounded during breakout campaign

Without question, Blackcaps youngster Rachin Ravindra has been the breakout star of this year's Cricket World Cup in India, not that his teammates are letting him get carried away by it all.  

Fortunate to even be in the Blackcaps' plans after injuries to captain Kane Williamson and all-rounder Michael Bracewell earlier this year, Ravindra has taken his chance with both hands.  

In nine games batting at the top of the order, Ravindra has scored 565 runs at an average of over 70, including three centuries to sit second to only South Africa's Quinton de Kock on the run-scoring charts, along with five wickets as the Blackcaps secured a top-four finish in the group stage.  

And aside from his exploits on the field, the ever-partisan Indian crowd have latched onto Ravindra, who walks out to chants of "Rachin, Rachin" when he's at the crease. 

Rachin Ravindra and Kane Williamson.
Rachin Ravindra and Kane Williamson. Photo credit: Getty Images

That crowd attachment is helped by Ravindra's Indian heritage, but his efforts on the field have gone a long way towards cementing himself as the star of this year's tournament.  

"It's pretty surreal," said Ravindra. "It's always a dream to have the crowd chanting your name.  

"You feel that energy and you feel that vibe when you're out there in the middle. It energises you quite a bit.  

"The beauty of batting is you can get in your bubble. You hear it between balls, but when you're watching the ball, for me it feels dead silent. That's where batting is the most fun for me.  

"I appreciate the all the support, it's been pretty special."  

Ravindra isn't the first player to enjoy a breakout campaign in a World Cup, nor will he be the last.  

In a sport like cricket, though, where individual success can either contrast or complement that of a team, humility is a trait that's seen this Blackcaps side succeed for the better part of a decade.  

And with some of New Zealand's all-time greats sharing a changing room with Ravindra, the youngster has the perfect example of staying in the moment.   

"That's the amazing thing about this team, if you do start getting ahead of yourself, they pull you back," Ravindra added.   

"It's led by the senior guys. No matter what they've achieved, the Southees, Boults, Williamsons... They're still human beings at the end of the day.

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

"That's why they're such role models, that's why I aspire to be like them. They keep their feet on the ground and react to what's in front of them.  

"It's been pretty cool."  

Now, Ravindra and his teammates will prepare for the ultimate test, when they face hosts India in the tournament's first semi-final in Mumbai on Wednesday night (NZ time).  

While the Blackcaps have been happy to play spoiler and send India packing from the 2019 World Cup and 2021 Twenty20 World Cup, doing so for a third time is a huge ask.  

Victory, no matter how improbable, would send the Blackcaps into a third successive World Cup final.  

Regardless of the team's fortunes, Ravindra won't leave India empty-handed.  

On Friday, he was named as the ICC's men's player of the month for October, holding off the challenge of de Kock and India seamer Jasprit Bumrah.  

But for Ravindra, any personal success comes second to the team's performance at the World Cup.   

"I'm very honoured," he added. "You look at the names nominated for that list, it's pretty special to be amongst the greats of the game.


"I don't necessarily play for personal accolades, but the recognition is always nice from the governing body.  

"Doing it for the team is the beauty of it. You might end up with that award once in your career.   

"[But] if you're contributing to winning cricket, that's what matters to me."  

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