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Bangladesh v New Zealand 2023

Should Rachin Ravindra have batted four for New Zealand in Bangladesh?

Rachin Ravindra NZ vs BAN
by Naman Agarwal 4 minute read

Former New Zealand seamer Mitchell McClenaghan believes that New Zealand not playing Rachin Ravindra in the Bangladesh Test series was a mistake and that he should be their No.4 going forward.

After succumbing to their first ever Test defeat in Bangladesh in Sylhet, New Zealand scraped through to win the second one in Mirpur and draw the series 1-1. Rachin Ravindra, however, didn’t feature in either of the Tests.

Ravindra was coming in off the back of a phenomenal World Cup where he scored 578 runs from 10 games. Having made his Test debut in India in Kanpur two years back and impressed in his first Test assignment in the subcontinent, it was widely expected that Ravindra would make the cut in New Zealand’s XI for the two Test matches against Bangladesh.


Instead, they picked Glenn Phillips at the No.7 spot in both Tests, while the second frontline spinner’s spot went to Ish Sodhi in the first and Mitchell Santner in the second game. Ajaz Patel was the first-choice spinner in both.

Speaking to Wisden.com, McClenaghan said that not picking Ravindra was a mistake. “New Zealand’s a very legacy driven Test team, they always want to keep an incumbent in the team,” said McClenaghan. “But I do think that they may have missed a trick in not playing Rachin Ravindra, who’s been very, very good against spinners coming off the back of an incredible World Cup. And who’s to say he might not have continued that form.”

McClenaghan went on to argue that Ravindra should be looked at as a pure batter who can bowl and not as a spin-bowling all-rounder, and that he should be groomed for the No.4, and eventually, the No.3 spot. “He’s probably going to be a number four going forward, particularly with what we’ve got going around the country,” said McClenaghan.

Do you want to start him in Bangladesh against Bangladesh in that position, which would be a very difficult series? Or do you wait until you get a home series where it’s familiar conditions, where hopefully you’re going to be able to have a lot of time to get a big score on the board?

“We know cricket is all about confidence so I can see both sides of the ledger. I do hope that they move towards him sooner rather than later. I think he’s the future. I think he probably has to bat in that top four because maybe when Kane retires, he might have to be that that long term number three, so the more time he gets to bat and learn off Kane in the middle, I think the better it will be for New Zealand going forward.”

Some people felt that Ravindra wasn’t picked for the first Test since New Zealand already had a left-arm spinner in Patel in the XI. However, they went ahead and played Santner in the second Test, who is also a left-arm spinner. On this, McClenaghan said that Ravindra’s competition was never with Santner or any spinner, but with Henry Nicholls.

I don’t think Rachin was ever in the frame to play as a spinner. I think he’s an out and out bat, who could bowl a couple of overs,” McClenaghan said. “It purely comes down to Rachin or Henry Nicholls. And Henry Nicholls’ numbers overseas, away from New Zealand are not great. He averages 20 (19.67). So you can’t have your No.4 averaging 20 overseas. That’s a crucial position.”

With Kane Williamson having given up Test captaincy and Tim Southee taking over the command, New Zealand are going to enter a bit of a transition phase, particularly with several players towards the latter stages of their careers. McClenaghan warned that turbulent times might be ahead for New Zealand cricket.

It’s an exciting little period for New Zealand. Over this period of time, you’re going to see a changing of the guard. Senior guys who have performed for a long period of time, we’re going to move on in the next couple of years potentially.

“And now’s the time where you’re going to see some exciting young talent and fingers crossed that they perform straightaway, it makes international cricket a lot easier. But I think we could see some good times and we could definitely see some bad times, so New Zealand cricket fans are probably going to go through a little bit of a roller coaster over the next little while.”

McClenaghan spoke to Wisden.com on the sidelines at the Legends League Cricket in Surat, India. His team, Manipal Tigers, beat Urbanrisers Hyderabad in the final on December 9 to lift the trophy in the second edition of the tournament. McClenaghan took seven wickets from seven games at an economy rate of 8.60.

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