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“It’s the most exciting match I have played. The momentum changed often. It was the first time I have been involved in a Super Over. To win like we did was unbelievable,” Rachin Ravindra recalls of Hutt International Boys’ School’s match against Christchurch Boys’ High School at the National Secondary Schools cricket championships last year.
HIBS conquered the three-time defending champions and went on to claim a maiden National crown. Ravindra is under no illusions this year’s National tourney will be just as competitive.
“It was a great thrill to win last year, but when you look at the sides who have qualified in 2016 it’s going to be even tougher. They all have plenty of experience and talent,” Ravindra reveals.
Saint Kentigern College, Hamilton Boys’ High School, Nelson College, Otago Boys’ High School and HIBS have all reached the top six. The final place will be taken by a yet to be determined Canterbury school.
HIBS reached the finals in April after defeating Wellington College in the capital decider. Ravindra was man of the match. He scored 112 off 111 balls and took 2 for 38 with the ball. Ravindra is optimistic HIBS will give a strong showing.
“We have a lot of belief and confidence in each other. We have about half of last year’s team back and have played some great cricket so far,” he says.
Players to watch for in the HIBS roster include Tyler Simpson, a Wellington U19 fast bowler, Matthew McComb who bowls tidy left-arm spin, big hitting rookie Jesse Taskoff, Caleb Hewson whose wicket forced the famous Super Over and Adam Webster another youngster with a bright future.
Replacing 2015 skipper Troy Johnson has been tough.
“He is irreplaceable really. His talent and leadership was huge. I guess everybody has chipped in a bit to try and compensate for his loss,” Ravindra admits.
Ravindra himself has played 87 matches for HIBS. He has scored 2,464 runs at 34.7 making him the third highest run scorer in the history of the school. He is the leading wicket taker with 165 scalps at 10.6. The best next best is 124 wickets! Ravindra has been a regular Wellington age group representative and was selected for the New Zealand U19s. He still has another year at HIBS.
“I am one of the more experienced players in the side now. I have enjoyed the challenge of stepping up,'” he says.
What are his most memorable performances?
In Year 10 I made 84 not out in the Wellington Gillette Cup Final at the Basin Reserve. We were in a bit of trouble when I came to the wicket and to make runs and help the team win was pretty satisfying. With the ball I got 7 for 10 against Wellington College in Year 9. The pitch helped a lot and I got four batsman out stumped, but it was still a good spell.”
Ravindra is hoping for more memorable moments at the Nationals which are at Lincoln in December.