In the land of Sachin, a young man named Rachin has emerged on the world stage.
New Zealand batter Rachin Ravindra sits third on the run-scoring charts after the group stage of the Cricket World Cup in India, with his haul of 565 in nine innings including three centuries.
The left-hander, 23, has even pinched a record from the aforementioned Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, a man he is partially named after due to his Bangalore-born father’s love of cricket.
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During Ravindra’s knock of 42 against Sri Lanka last time out, fittingly in Bangalore, he became the highest-scoring player under the age of 25 at a single World Cup, eclipsing Tendulkar’s tally of 523 during the 1996 edition – runs The Little Master scored almost four years before Ravindra was even born.
Rachin’s name is a portmanteau of Sachin Tendulkar and another India batting great Rahul Dravid, someone Ravindra will be looking to leave feeling blue in Mumbai on Wednesday in the first semi-final.
Dravid is head coach of an Indian side that has swept all before them at this World Cup, with the hosts’ nine wins out of nine in the group stage including a four-wicket victory over New Zealand.
The sides meet again at Wankhede Stadium this week and while India are firm favourites, they know Ravindra has the potential to derail what many see as an inevitable surge to a third World Cup title and second on home soil, after the jubilation of 2011.
Ravindra made 75 against India during the league fixture in Dharamshala, one of five fifty-plus scores the Black Caps batter has amassed in this tournament.
He also notched a half-century against Netherlands, but progressed to three figures against England, Australia and Pakistan with innings of 123 not out, 116 and 108 respectively.
His 82-ball hundred against England in the competition opener was the fastest by a New Zealander at a World Cup – a record he went on to break the following month with a 77-ball ton against Australia.
No player from any country has scored more runs at their first World Cup than Ravindra – and he is not done yet, with at least one more game to come. Two if New Zealand can somehow stop the India juggernaut in its tracks.
He might not have played against England last month had skipper Kane Williamson’s recovery from an ACL injury been speedier but with New Zealand being understandably cautious when it came to their skipper, Ravindra got his chance. He hasn’t half taken it.
Batting at No 3 in Williamson’s absences (first as the captain overcame his knee issue and then when he missed matches with a fractured thumb) or opening when his team-mate has played, Ravindra has racked up the runs. He has fallen for single figures only twice, against South Africa and Bangladesh.
That form may well have secured a return to India for the IPL in the spring. Franchises in that tournament surely have Ravindra on their radar as he presents a fine overall package.
Not only has he scored heavily at the World Cup – only India’s Virat Kohli and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock have more runs – he has also bagged five wickets with his left-arm spin and is a livewire in the field to boot. Come the IPL auction in Dubai on December 19, Ravindra could be hot property.
He is already on the lips of Indian fans with spectators in Bangalore chanting “Rachin” during the game against Sri Lanka, although there may be less of that love when he is playing against India in Mumbai, when you’d imagine “Virat” and “Rohit” will be bellowed instead.
Rachin might not be Sachin – “He is the God of cricket. No one near him,” said Ravindra about his “idol”, a player with a record 34,357 international runs – but the man named after Tendulkar and Dravid is making quite the name for himself.
Watch New Zealand take on India in the first Cricket World Cup semi-final, in Mumbai, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am on Wednesday (8.30am first ball).
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