After a breakout performance in the ODI World Cup in India last year, New Zealand all-rounder Rachin Ravindra on Sunday (February 4) struck his maiden Test century. He remained unbeaten on 118 and put on an unbeaten 219-run stand for the third wicket with Kane Williamson (112*).
As a result, New Zealand finished Day One of the first Test in Mount Maunganui with 258 for 2 against a second-string New Zealand team with as many as six debutants, including skipper Neil Brand.
Ravindra, who has looks up to Williamson, says it was surreal and a pinch-me moment to bat alongside his idol. "After I got to my century, Kane come up to me and said, 'mate, you're unbelievable'. It's so surreal. To be receiving that kind of special praise from one of the best batters in the world. It's the coolest thing I've been a part of," Ravindra said after after the first day's play.
"Playing alongside Kane is always very special," he said.
"Sharing the crease with someone I idolise so much, life has come full circle for me. It's a real 'pinch-me' moment. Seeing him go about his business as usual, with his calmness and timing, and the positions he gets himself into, it was pure batting bliss. As a lover of New Zealand cricket, seeing him still score Test hundreds is unbelievable.
"You saw it at the World Cup as well. It shows the pure resilience of the man, coming out of all those injuries and setbacks as an even better cricketer. You can see it in his character, work ethic, and the way he gives back to the team. Many guys who've played 15 years of international cricket, they might not have come back like Kane did. He's unbelievable, just a model personality to have around."
Ravindra does not want to get too ahead of himself after this ton, saying that his primary goal is to contribute as much as possible to the team's cause. "It's natural that people expect more from you once you have a decent couple of games. I just try to contribute my best to the team. You want to play as much as possible, but it all comes down to the team. The environment draws everything forward," the 24-year-old said.
"The way I batted was my natural way of scoring. On that surface, I had to be a little more selective in choosing the balls to score off. Kane was doing well at the other end, so being able to lean on him in the partnership was great.
"I've grown up loving ODIs, as you need to have the ability to be patient while also putting pressure on the bowler, hitting big when need be. However, Test cricket is sort of the pinnacle now. Getting a hard-fought win after five days, that feeling is tough to match.
"This is just a natural progression of my skillsets and my mental side as a cricketer. With more experience, I'm able to understand myself better."
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