Trending topics

Select your station

We'll remember your choice for next time

"It's a pinch yourself moment": Ravindra's breakthrough season rewarded with NZC central contract


Rachin Ravindra's breakthrough international season with the Blackcaps has been rewarded by New Zealand Cricket offering the Wellington Firebirds all-rounder his first central contract.

The 24-year-old is one of four new names featured in Wednesday's announcement, with teammate and long-time friend Ben Sears, Will O'Rourke and Jacob Duffy also offered NZC contracts.

After not being given a contract for last season, Ajaz Patel is set to return to the fold for the 2024-25 season.

Ravindra quickly became the talk of the cricketing world during the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India. As the tournament's fourth leading run scorer with 578, the Wellington native quickly became a fan favourite, driving demand for Blackcaps selection that did not always come.

Not named for the two-match Test series in Bangladesh, Ravindra's non-selection drew the ire of renowned cricket commentator Ian Smith at the time.

"I don't understand it, I'm absolutely baffled. I sat amongst the best critics and analysts of the game for the last 50-odd days in India, and not one was not wowed - they wanted to watch him bat, they loved his timing," Smith said on his SENZ Mornings show November last year.

But Ravindra immediate impact on the global stage was recognised by the ICC as their Emerging Player of the Year for 2023. NZC followed suit by crowning the all-rounder as the youngest recipient of the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal at the NZ Cricket Awards in March.

"It's been a pretty special ride over the last twelve months - we've had a diet of a lot of cricket across different environments, countries, World Cups, and experiences that I've all thoroughly enjoyed," Ravindra said.

"Having that perfect team dynamic makes the traveling a lot easier and playing the game you love as a living makes it very special."

Now a full-time Blackcap, Ravindra is reveling in the moment with Sears, who he played alongside at the 2016 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

"As a kid you always dream of you pulling on that black cap, most specially Test cricket. Being contracted means you're part of the mix even more," Ravidra said.

"It's a pinch yourself moment, but I think it's always important to remember it's been a cool twelve months and hopefully I can keep giving to the team and the people around me. Hopefully there's still a lot of cricket left in the future."

Ravindra stamped his place in the Test side with authority during the 2024 home summer, scoring 240 at Bay Oval for his maiden Test century and double-century, against a South African side who opted to not bring their top-tier players due to a scheduling clash with the SA20 league.

While he plays all formats of the game, it is clear that Ravindra's true passion lies with red-ball cricket.

"We've got six Tests in the subcontinent, it's always going to be an amazing challenge, you relish those opportunities to learn and hopefully win games for this amazing team," Ravindra said.

"But also three Tests against England at home, hopefully (we'll) have amazing crowds. The crowds we had for the Tests against Australia, a sold-out Hagley (Oval) and Basin (Reserve), it doesn't get much better than that."

Sears took 13 wickets while averaging 22 runs against in the eleven T20s he featured in for the Blackcaps last season, along with an impressive Test debut against Australia, bowling 90/4 in the second innings at Hagley Oval.

O'Rourke also made his mark in the Blackcaps' bowling attack last summer, debuting in all three formats of the game. The Canterbury seamer was integral to New Zealand claiming their first-ever Test series victory against the Proteas, bowling a record-breaking nine for 93 on debut.

Duffy's central contract offer comes twelve years after making his professional debut for the Otago Volts as a 17-year-old.

With today's announcement, NZC have reiterated that their stance is to offer contracts to players for are fully committed to both the Blackcaps and the domestic Super Smash competition.

On the back of that, NZC have offered Kane Williamson a 'casual playing contract' for the 2024-25 season. Williamson recently relinquished his white-ball captaincy of the Blackcaps and declined a central contract, in a move to prolong his international career.

Blackcaps central contracts for 2024-25:
Finn Allen (Auckland), Tom Blundell (Wellington), Michael Bracewell (Wellington), Mark Chapman (Auckland), Devon Conway (Wellington), Jacob Duffy (Otago), Matt Henry (Canterbury), Kyle Jamieson (Canterbury), Tom Latham (Canterbury), Daryl Mitchell (Canterbury), Henry Nicholls (Canterbury), Will O’Rourke (Canterbury), Ajaz Patel (Central Districts), Glenn Phillips (Otago), Rachin Ravindra (Wellington), Mitchell Santner (Northern Districts), Ben Sears (Wellington), Ish Sodhi (Canterbury), Tim Southee (Northern Districts), Will Young (Central Districts).


More in Cricket