Cricket: Rachin Ravindra denies Blackcaps' mental block despite repeated failures against Australia

Rachin Ravindra has shut down any notions of a mental block for the Blackcaps against Australia, despite New Zealand's poor record against their trans-Tasman foes.  

Despite a famous drawn series away from home in 2011, the Blackcaps' test results against Australia ever since have been dire to say the least.  

In the 10 tests since that victory in Hobart, the Blackcaps have lost nine and drawn one – thanks largely to Ross Taylor's record score of 290 in Perth.

Tom Blundell leaves the Basin Reserve after being dismissed.
Tom Blundell leaves the Basin Reserve after being dismissed. Photo credit: Photosport

In 2019, boasting arguably the best chance to win a test series since 1986, the Blackcaps were whitewashed 3-0.   

Last week, as the Blackcaps seemed to take advantage of winning the toss and bowling first against Australia at the Basin Reserve, a 116-run 10th wicket partnership between Cameron Green and Josh Hazlewood on the morning of day two took New Zealand out of the contest.  

In neither of their completed innings did the Blackcaps score more than 200, and were bowled out for 179 and 196 respectively.  

And while Green made a match-winning 174 not out, only two New Zealand batters; Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra passed 50.   

Outside of test cricket, the Blackcaps were also swept 3-0 by Australia, despite being in strong positions at both Sky Stadium and Eden Park to start the series. 

But as the Blackcaps now face a must-win second test in Christchurch to save the series, and preserve their unbeaten home record that dates back to 2017, Ravindra denies the problems at play aren't mental.  

Instead, the World Test Champions and World Cup holders are just in a different league to what New Zealand can currently offer.  

"It's hard to put a story on that," said Ravindra. "If I just look from the outset, Australia are a good team, no matter what.


Glenn Phillips made a half-century against Australia.
Glenn Phillips made a half-century against Australia. Photo credit: Photosport

"They're allowed to play good cricket, and we haven't potentially been at our best against them.  

"The few series that I have witnessed, 2019 in their backyard, they have played really good cricket. In this one they played good cricket too.  

"All that past experience, at the end of the day it doesn't matter when the first ball is bowled.  

"It's a different day, a different wicket, it's a completely different test match. Hopefully we can take that sort of mindset."  

Ravindra also asserted that the Blackcaps' batters needn't go back to the drawing board over their collective woes in Wellington.  

Aside from Kane Williamson, only Ravindra has passed three figures to start the home summer when he scored 240 against a depleted South Africa.  

And with one last chance before 2024 switches into a diet of Twenty20 cricket, Ravindra backs the batting unit to learn from their mistakes at the Basin Reserve.   

"It's a dangerous game if we nitpick. Cricket is a very funny game at times if you look to over-analyse.  

"Especially as a batter, you fail more than you succeed. If you're looking and nitpicking every single time, you're probably in your own head.

"It's about staying level in terms of that, reviewing it from a different lense and different perspective.  

"Hopefully we can take those learnings out of it. You try to wash away all the negative stuff in general.  

"But if you're not learning, you're not looking at enough, specifically."  

The Blackcaps could re-enforce their batting unit for the second test against Australia, with Henry Nicholls in the squad as cover after Devon Conway withdrew due to a thumb injury.