The wrath of Rachin Ravindra struck Wellington College again in the First XI Premier Youth cricket final on Saturday.
For the second consecutive year the gun batsman blasted a century (118) as Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS) beat Wellington College by 158 runs to win through to National finals for the fourth time.
In the corresponding fixture last year, Ravindra smacked 112 off 111 balls as HIBS foiled the same opposition.
“It’s nice to succeed again, but it was a team effort. Wellington had some good bowlers and we had to work hard to get a good score and then bowl them out,” Ravindra modestly observers.
The final was originally scheduled to be staged in April, but inclement weather forced that meeting to be postponed. The Ngatitoa Domain was a makeshift venue with an artificial pitch due to a shortage of grounds
“The ball bounces like a tennis ball so it’s a little different than normal, but at the end of the day it’s still cricket.” Ravindra replied when quizzed on the challenge of batting on an unusual surface.
HIBS may face an even greater challenge than pitches at Nationals. It’s highly likely Ravindra will be absent from the 2015 champions roster because of a clash with the National Under-19 tournament.
The Under-19 tourney is due to be held at Lincoln University near Christchurch between December 4-12 and is the last warm-up before the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in January. The school Nationals are being held at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North from December 4-8. Ravindra is a long-time Wellington representative. Which event will he play?
“It’s up to New Zealand cricket if I play for HIBS or for Wellington. I would like to play for both, but that might not be possible,” Ravindra responded.
HIBS could also lose Brett McBride and Jesse Tashkoff to the Wellington Under-19’s. Who will replace them?
“I’m not sure, but we have a strong squad and faith in everyone to perform,” Ravindra answered.
Which of the six schools would take the biggest hit?
“I expect all the teams to be strong anyway. The Nationals is always a competitive tournament,” Ravindra observes.
Ravindra’s shoulder is stronger than what it has been in the last 12 months. Twice Ravindra dislocated his shoulder forcing him to have surgery in the off-season. He was consigned to a sling for six weeks.
Ravindra has played 93 matches for HIBS and made 2730 runs at an average of 35.90. With the ball he has taken 173 wickets at 11.20.
Ravindra has played 10 matches previously for the New Zealand Under-19’s. He has taken 15 wickets at 23.80 and achieved a highest score of 77 against Pakistan in January 2016.
The Under-19 World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Zealand from 13 January to 3 February 2018. New Zealand tackles defending champions West Indies in the opening match at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Kenya and South Africa are the other countries grouped in the baby blacks pool.
“I have played for New Zealand before, and I hope to play again, but I am taking nothing for granted,” Ravindra concludes.
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