New Zealand youngster Rachin Ravindra has capped off an amazing 12 months by being named the ICC Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year for 2023.
Ravindra beat South Africa quick Gerald Coetzee, Sri Lanka pacer Dilshan Madushanka and India batter Yashasvi Jaiswal for the prized award on the back of an amazing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India where he amassed a whopping 578 runs.
Ravindra was thrilled to be recognised by the ICC and said he has enjoyed plying his trade in many different countries during the early stages of his playing career.
"It's obviously a very special feeling," Ravindra said when accepting the award.
"Whenever you get recognised by the ICC for something it is always special.
"Reflecting back it has been a pretty whirlwind last year and having the opportunity to play so much cricket in so many different environments has been very special."
Rachin Ravindra in 2023
820 ODI runs at 41, Strike Rate 108.03, 18 wickets at 46.61, economy 6.02
91 T20I runs at 18.20, Strike Rate 133.82, 5 wickets at 32.80, economy 9.11
The year that was
The “next player up” mentality of New Zealand was tested again in 2023, but the Black Caps once again showed the (significance) of their system, with Rachin Ravindra hitting his stride on the biggest stage.
While representing his country in the other two formats before 2023, it was the ODI format, where he debuted in March, that he has shown his capabilities.
He showed glimpses early with a knock of 49 against Sri Lanka to begin, also chiming in with the ball, taking consecutive three-wicket hauls against Pakistan and England, both away from home.
A fifty against England at Lord’s followed, though it was the World Cup where Ravindra flourished. Needing someone to stand up in the absence of Kane Williamson, the left-hander showed class and mental nous beyond his years in a knock of 123* (96), throwing down New Zealand’s World Cup challenge.
Even with the attention and opposition gameplans now with more focus on him, Ravindra continued to show his class. A knock of 51 against the Dutch followed, before another half-century against India in Dharamsala. Not done, Ravindra ramped up at the backend, making 116 in a spirited chase against Australia at the same venue, before another century against Pakistan in Bengaluru.
Ravindra’s 578 runs was the highest tally for a New Zealand player at the tournament, with only Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock bettering him.
Questions were raised on how New Zealand would line up to begin the Cricket World Cup, needing to move things around to accommodate for those forced out.
Once again, New Zealand made the most of what they had instead of lamenting of what they were lacking: Ravindra joined Devon Conway at 10/1 in the pursuit of England’s 283, looked at his first seven balls, before hitting Chris Woakes for boundaries in back-to-back deliveries to begin his charge.
Ravindra went on to swat Mark Wood for ten runs in another flash two-ball sequence, and brought up his half-century with a six off just his 36th delivery faced.
Rachin powered on against the spin of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, reaching three figures in 82 balls by pushing Liam Livingstone into the leg-side. He and Conway coasted to England’s total, and Ravindra had the honour of finishing things off in just the 37th over.