Dipak Patel to Rachin Ravindra: Strong Indian connection to New Zealand cricket

(MENAFN- IANS) By Avinash Kr Atish

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) With Rachin Ravindra being the latest, there has been a history of Indian origin players who have represented the New Zealand men's national cricket team over the years.

India has a plethora of talent but there is also cut-throat competition because of the massive population. With limited spots on offer in Team India, not everyone can make their careers in cricket, hence some of them migrate to a different country and play the game there. There is also a section of people that moves to foreign countries for a different purpose but picks up cricket as a profession.

As often said cricket follows Indians wherever they go. We have seen that almost every cricket-playing nation in the world has had players of Indian origin in their setup. Not only are they part of the group, there are many well-known Indian origin cricketers who have played at the highest level for countries such as England, Australia and New Zealand.

With the ongoing T20Is between India and New Zealand, we look at the Indian-origin players who have represented the Black Caps over the years.

Dipak Patel:

Interestingly, Kenyan-born Patel began his cricketing career in England, plying his trade for Worcestershire for close to a decade, snaring 357 wickets in addition to scoring 9,734 runs. Despite his impressive all-round display, the Indian origin player did not get his chances with the Three Lions, forcing him to migrate to New Zealand in search of better opportunities.

An off-spinner, Dipak made his debut for New Zealand in 1987 and represented them in the World Cups -- 1987, 1992 and 1996. He also played 37 Test matches in which he picked up 75 wickets and scored 1,200 runs.

He is famously remembered for opening the bowling for the Black Caps in the 1992 World Cup. With his right-arm loopy offies, he strangled the unsuspecting opposition batsmen into stagnation inside the first 15 overs during that World Cup. Spinners opening the bowling has become a norm in the modern era, but it was a sensational move in those days.

Ish Sodhi:

Sodhi, as the name suggests, comes from a family with Indian roots. Ish was born in Ludhiana, Punjab but his family shifted to New Zealand where the young Ish pursued his cricketing fortunes from a tender age.

Although he first made his debut in Test cricket in 2013, it was in the shorter formats that he actually made a name. Known for breaking partnerships and maintaining a good economy, Sodhi continues to be a revelation for the Kiwis in T20 cricket.

The leg spinner has represented Rajasthan Royals both as a player and as a member of the backroom staff in the Indian Premier League.

Jeetan Patel:

While his parents are Indian, Jeetan Patel was born and brought up in Wellington, New Zealand. The off-spin bowler was identified by John Bracewell when he was the coach of the national side and took him to Zimbabwe for an ODI tournament in 2005.

The cricketer represented the Black Caps in all three formats and has 24 Tests, 44 ODIs, and 10 T20Is to his name. In 2017, he decided to retire from the game. He also had a stint with the England cricket team as a spin-bowling consultant.

Rachin Ravindra:

Kiwi all-rounder Ravindra has a strong Indian connection. Not only was he born to Indian parents in Wellington, he has been regularly playing in India for the last few years on off-season tours.

Ravindra's father Ravi Krishnamurthy, a software system architect from Bengaluru who moved to New Zealand in the 1990s, is the founder of the Hutt Hawks Club in New Zealand, which brings players over to India every summer. Some international Kiwi cricketers like James Neesham and Tom Blundell have also been part of these tours.

On Wednesday, during the first T20I match between India and New Zealand, Ravindra took the field against the Men in Blue in Jaipur. However, he failed to do any wonders with the bat as he was dismissed for the individual score of 7 runs by ace Indian seamer Mohammed Siraj.

Despite his failure with the bat, Ravindra attracted the attention of cricket enthusiasts of the country due to his name. Ravindra's first name 'Rachin' is a portmanteau of two Indian batting greats, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

He made his international debut in September 2021 against Bangladesh. So far, he has played six T20Is and scored 54 runs while taking six wickets. Ravindra was also part of the New Zealand squad, which won the World Test Championship by defeating India in the final earlier this year. However, he did not feature in the playing XI of New Zealand in that match.

Jeet Raval:

Born in Gujarat, Raval is a left-handed opening batsman and had attended the same school as India wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel, before his family moved to New Zealand. Interestingly, both Raval and Patel have opened together for their school in early days.

The batsman had come through the New Zealand Under-19 team before moving on to senior cricket. A heavy run scorer in New Zealand's domestic circuit, Raval earned a Test call up as he scored in excess of 1000 runs at an average of nearly 60 in the 2015/16 season for Auckland.

The southpaw has played 24 Test matches for New Zealand so far, scoring 1143 runs.

Ronnie Hira:

Ronnie is yet another Indian origin spinner who has represented the Black Caps. Born in Auckland, the cricketer played most of his cricket in the city and his consistent performance in the shortest format of the game in the domestic cricket earned him a place in the national side.

Unfortunately, Hira has not been able to replicate his domestic success at the international level as yet. Ronnie, who is known for his sharp fielding and cameo down the order, also played in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka for New Zealand.

Tarun Nethula:

Nethula, a leg spinner, was born in Andhra Pradesh but has played all his professional cricket in New Zealand, where his family moved when he was 12 years old.

He made his mark in his debut first-class season, in 2008/09, helping Auckland win the State Championship by finishing top of the wickets chart. In 2012, he was called up to the New Zealand squad for their limited-over series against Zimbabwe.

However, his main performances have come in domestic tournaments, and has played in only five ODIs for New Zealand.





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