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grandma's rituals to world cup success

“I went to see my uncle, aunty, grandma, and two cousins. But then it ended up being 35 people at the house.”

During the Cricket World Cup recently, a video of Rachin Ravindra’s grandmother doing the customary ‘nazar utarna’ routine, or casting off the evil-eye, at his famly home in Bengaluru went viral.

The 24-year-old Black Caps star says he wasn’t prepared for the internet craze over it. “I guess my grandma, who lived in India for 80 years, likes doing those traditional things, especially for me when I visit every once in a while...

“But it wasn’t meant to be recorded. It was a bit disappointing that someone in there recorded it and, I guess, leaked it or posted it online, which I didn’t necessarily want, but that’s okay; that happens,” he says.

The Kiwi-Indian had a dream run during his maiden World Cup this year, with 578 runs at an average of 64.22, a strike rate of 106.44 and a top score of 123*.

As he recounts his stint in India, the Wellington-based all-rounder paints a vivid picture of the subcontinental spectacle. “India is always buzzing, but during the World Cup, it was on a different level. The fanfare, the roaring crowds—it was incredible.

“I think the fanfare and how busy it was in the stadiums and how massive the crowd was at every one of my games...it was a pretty incredible experience. It’s such a cricket-loving nation. So spending time for a World Cup was amazing.”

Wearing his cultural identity on his sleeve, Rachin speaks of his Indian heritage proudly, a sentiment encapsulated in his love for dosa and sambar.

“My favourite Indian food is the dosa, which my mom makes the best. I don’t know Indian movies or songs. I don’t keep up with it.” Rachin’s parents were born and raised in the

southern Indian city of Bengaluru. “My parents moved to New Zealand in the late 1990s. I was born in New Zealand. So obviously, I’m very proud of my heritage and proud of where my parents come from,

but I’m fully Kiwi and was born in Wellington, and I am completely a New Zealander.”

From the chaotic stadiums of India to the cosy corners of his family home, Rachin then transports us to the roots of his cricketing passion.

“My passion for career probably started through, I guess, my parents…probably dad more. He was invested in the game and watched a lot of cricket, and then it kind of just rubbed off on me.

“I started in the backyard and graduated to the garage with my mates. I guess that’s where it started. I really loved it through primary school and stuff.

"And then suddenly, you’re playing in the World Cup. That was pretty cool,” he says.

The spotlight then shifts to the challenges he faced in his cricket journey. “In and out of the team, different roles, not being picked—it’s tough.

“But playing for New Zealand, surrounded by world-class cricketers, is a blessing. In cricket, unfortunately, you fail more than you succeed. So you just got to keep on going.”

Ask him about his favourite cricketers, and pat comes the reply, “Probably when I was growing up, it was Tendulkar, Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor. I love watching Trent Boult bowl…I’m a big admirer of Kane Willaims and Virat Kohli and how they work.”


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