“Kiwi at heart but proud of Indian heritage”
The New Zealand Test squad for England sees Rachin Ravindra in the 20-man squad for their tour of England, which will include the World Test Championship final against India.
“Rachin is born and bred in New Zealand and has Kiwi at heart but proud of our Indian heritage,” his father, Ravi Krish, speaking exclusively over the telephone from New Zealand, says.
“Best part is he got the best of both worlds. He’s a regular visitor to India during our winters to hone his cricketing skills and gain experience playing on Indian decks. Anantapur (RDT), Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore and few other places in India have been consistently visited over the last 10+ years.”
“As for representing New Zealand with Indian heritage is a huge honour and a privilege. We are under no delusion. To make this current Black Caps team is not an easy task given the state the team is in currently and the number of world class players in the team. Just being around them is a great honour.”
There was no luck as far as the family to New Zealand is concerned. The father had a job offer which he took and once in New Zealand couldn’t believe what a great country he chose to come to. “New Zealand is an amazing country, one of its kind which we made our home instantly. The ease at which people embraced us instantly, the cultural diversity and the help that the locals extended when we first migrated convinced us there is no better place to be and raise kids. Even today we feel extremely privileged to be living in New Zealand.”
“As for Rachin’s cricketing career, from very early on he loved cricket as early as he was in nappies. There was cricket all along at home, I was a cricket fanatic and followed cricket from all around the world. I suppose that was a natural influence for Rachin to appreciate and enjoy playing cricket watching cricket being played on TV nearly every minute of the day. He would expect me to throw him balls in the back yard for hours and his favourite pastime was cricket as soon as he learnt to walk.”
The family had to cut down a bit on cricket when early on he had heart murmurs. “3 years of consistent monitoring and the help of doctors he was cleared of any heart issues when he was about 4 years which came as a relief to us parents. I vividly remember the question he asked when doctors opined he’s perfectly normal was “Now I can play cricket all day without time restrictions?” That was quite an emotional time for our family.”
“Behind every sportsman there’s got to be a supporting family and ours was no different. Deepa Ravindra, my wife, has to be given major credit for that. We always insisted that studies come first for us and Rachin was good at studies which helped him balance sports with studies. My daughter Aisiri Ravindra, Rachin’s sister provided that balance in his growth as she’s least interested in cricket and it didn’t matter what the returns were for Rachin on a game day she didn’t treat him any differently which definitely helped him keep perspective in life and not get carried away,” added father.
“We had to fit lots of training when he was growing up as a kid and the only way for us to do that was to go to the nets early in the morning. Wellington early mornings in winter is quite cold. Deepa had to wake up and prepare everything for Rachin at like 4.30 am in the morning and then wake us up. We would head to the nets at 5.30 am consistently and train for a couple of hours or three before I dropped him off at the railway station to catch a train. He’d come back from school at around 4 pm, finish all his school work and we would head to the nets at around 6 pm and return at 10 pm. This we did since he was like 5 and we still do that when Rachin doesn’t have other playing commitments.”
“For us to do this my employer (Datacom Systems Ltd.) had to be supportive which they always were and they are even today. The work life balance in New Zealand is amazing and we can fully commit to our family without compromising with work. There is a lot of flexibility at work which helped us in committing to family and bringing up our kids. This is an amazing aspect of living in New Zealand.”
Rachin’s father is a chairman of a club, Hutt Hawks, the club team that goes on overseas visits for cricket. They have done many tours to India with close to 300 cricketers and their parents. This also played a major part in his development.
“Almost playing every day with Rachin either throwing balls to him or bowling to him for endless hours made me very familiar with these methods and techniques and to this day I do help him with his training but cannot claim I did everything for him.”
When India plays against NZ in the World Test Championship, which team will the family be supporting?
“This is quite easy to answer, New Zealand. New Zealand has been our home for the last 20+ years and we are well and truly Kiwis at heart. We are still very proud of our Indian heritage which I guess will live within us forever,” the father concluded.
On a lighter note, when asked why his name is kept Rachin and not Sachin, the father quipped: “It’s Rachin. There’s only one Sachin.”