Cricket: Rachin Ravindra eager to make triumphant return to test arena

Rachin Ravindra is eager to capitalise on his opportunity to play in the upcoming two-match test series against South Africa - his first long-form matches for New Zealand in more than two years.     

Despite missing out on selection for the Bangladesh test series in December, Ravindra's breakout at last year's one-day international World Cup has inspired coach Gary Stead to promote him into the squad for his side's first series of the new year.     

Averaging just 14 runs over his previous three tests for New Zealand in 2021-22, Ravindra is looking to solidify himself in Stead's red-ball side going forward.     

Rachin Ravindra during game three of an international series between New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Rachin Ravindra during game three of an international series between New Zealand and Bangladesh. Photo credit: Getty Images

"It's been a year or two since I've been in the test set-up, and I guess for me and a lot of people, test cricket is the pinnacle, so getting the opportunity to get in amongst the test unit is always great," said Ravindra.  

During his sublime World Cup, Ravindra was used as allrounder, but with Henry Nicholls left out of the 14-man squad, he is expected to get most of his opportunities against the Proteas with the bat.     

"It's a little bit different to where I've played previously," he said. "I was in that allrounder role a couple of years ago, but I'm now into that middle-order batting role."    

If Ravindra, 24, does bat at No.4, he'll have plenty of test experience around him in the middle.    

"You've got Kane at three and Daryl at five, who's one of the best all-format players in the world," he said. "Devon, Tommy... guys who are amazing test cricketers, so anything I can do to learn from them will be great.    

"I'm excited to get out there and experience a different sort of role."    

Despite recently being named ICC Emerging Player of the Year, Ravindra isn't putting unnecessary pressure on himself heading into the series.  

"I'm not a massive goalsetter in terms of runs and wickets, as I feel you can get too caught up in the results and runs and wickets.    

"I'd just love to contribute to winning test matches for New Zealand and I think, if I can focus on what I can do for the team in that moment, hopefully that will hold me in good stead."