Rachin Ravindra Earns First Central Contract After Breakthrough Year

Rachin Ravindra, a young New Zealand all-rounder of Indian origin, has achieved a significant milestone in his career by securing his first central contract. The 24-year-old’s exceptional performance over the past year, culminating in a remarkable ODI World Cup campaign where he amassed a substantial number of runs, has been duly recognized. His breakout season saw him finish as the fourth highest run-scorer, amassing 578 runs, further solidifying his position as a rising star in the cricketing world.

His success in the ODI format propelled him into the spotlight during the IPL auction. This marked his maiden appearance in the prestigious league, where he was acquired by Chennai Super Kings for a hefty sum of Rs 1.8 crore. Ravindra’s consistent performance and impressive rise were acknowledged in January when he was bestowed with the prestigious ICC Emerging Player of the Year award for 2023. Adding another feather to his cap, he was named the youngest recipient of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal in March.

The Bengaluru-born cricketer, whose grandparents reside in India, expressed his elation at receiving his first central contract. He stated, “Growing up, you’d see those contract lists come out each year and think it would be cool to be on that list one day — and for it to eventuate now is a pinch-myself moment.” He further added, “It’s been a really cool past 12 months playing international cricket. I’ve learned a lot and the hunger is definitely there to keep improving and giving to the Blackcaps. It’s such a special group to be in, from players to support staff — and that’s been the most enjoyable part, to be honest.”

Apart from Ravindra, three other promising cricketers — Ben Sears, Will O’Rourke, and Jacob Duffy — have also been included in the list of 20 players offered contracts by NZC. Sears, a former teammate of Ravindra in the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup, made his mark in the T20I format, featuring in 11 matches for New Zealand during the 2023-24 season, claiming 13 wickets at an impressive average of 22. He was also selected as a traveling reserve for the recently concluded T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA.

O’Rourke, a versatile player who has made his international debut in all three formats within the past year, has participated in three ODIs, three T20Is, and two Tests. Duffy, a 29-year-old right-arm quick bowler, has represented New Zealand in 14 T20Is and six ODIs, most recently playing a crucial role in the drawn T20I series against Pakistan in April. His inclusion in the central contract list signifies his valuable contribution to the New Zealand team.

Ravindra, with a remarkable record of 519 runs in seven Tests, including a century, and three ODI centuries in 25 games, is poised to further cement his place in the New Zealand cricket team. The new contracts represent a promising future for the New Zealand cricket team, showcasing a blend of established talent and emerging stars.

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