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HomeSportSachin Tendulkar + Rahul Dravid equals New Zealand’s latest cricket debutant, Rachin...

Sachin Tendulkar + Rahul Dravid equals New Zealand’s latest cricket debutant, Rachin Ravindra

Rachin Ravindra made his T20I debut against Bangladesh Wednesday. He hails from NZ capital Wellington, which is also home to Gavaskar Place and Kapil Grove.

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New Delhi: Amid Bangladesh’s emphatic victory over New Zealand in a men’s T20 International fixture in Dhaka Wednesday, what drew the attention of Indian cricket fans and sports writers was the debut of 21-year-old Rachin Ravindra for the Kiwis.

Ravindra opened the batting for New Zealand but was caught-and-bowled by Mahedi Hasan for a first-ball duck in the opening over, before his team collapsed to 60 all out. Bangladesh then reached the target in 15 overs, but Ravindra, who is considered a batting all-rounder, did manage to get the prized wicket of the hosts’ star man Shakib Al Hasan.

Rachin Ravindra, who hails from New Zealand’s capital Wellington, was part of the 2016 and 2018 Under-19 World Cups for the Kiwis, and received his first professional domestic cricket contract with the Wellington Firebirds. The son of Indian parents spent his childhood embarking on several cricketing tours to India to play in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, according to Telangana Today.

His first name, Rachin, is said to be a portmanteau of Indian cricketing legends Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

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New Zealand cricket’s Indian connection

Rachin Ravindra is far from the first Indian-origin cricketer who has played for New Zealand. The 1992 World Cup saw captain Martin Crowe open the bowling with off-spinner Dipak Patel — a revolutionary move at the time — and since then, many more Indian-origin players have turned out for the Kiwis, including Jeet Raval and Ish Sodhi.

Ravindra is not even Wellington’s lone cricketing connection to India — the neighbourhood of Khandallah in the city is also home to Gavaskar Place and Kapil Grove, named after icons Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, ESPNCricinfo had reported during India’s tour of New Zealand in 2009.

“All the streets in Khandallah get their names from India: Andaman, Simla Crescent, Satara, Ramphal, Delhi, Madras, Poona, Amritsar, Benares, Gaya, Vasanta, Amapur, Baroda, Agra, Lucknow Terrace, Mysore, Bombay, all in a concentrated area,” the report by Sidharth Monga said.

A life-sized bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi had also been erected in the city’s railway station in January that year.

(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)

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