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HomeNewsIt's all about driving the team forward: Rachin Ravindra

It’s all about driving the team forward: Rachin Ravindra

Kiwi southpaw says he wants to play his own game even as he looks to fill in Conway’s shoes
CHENNAI: When Chennai Super Kings‘ reliable opener

Devon Conway

was ruled out of the IPL owing to a thumb injury, the title-holders turned to another Kiwi player

Rachin Ravindra

to step into the former’s shoes.
Conway’s absence was expected to leave a huge hole, but the flamboyant 24-year-old allrounder has put all the worry to rest and admirably taken up the mantle.

During an interaction, the youngster, who recently made it to headlines in the ODI World Cup, said he has “big shoes to fill” but aims to keep getting better and contribute to the team’s victories.

From the ODI World Cup to the IPL, how has the past six to seven months been for you?
Things have happened relatively quickly. Very lucky to be able to play in different environments around the world, experience different opportunities and soak it all in. I guess in every role I get, I just try to do what I can for the team. And luckily enough I found a little bit of success, but I think it’s still important to understand that I’m still very early in my career.

How were your preparations coming into IPL, knowing you would take Conway’s place?
In terms of my prep, we sort of just finished playing a Test match. So, it’s quite hard to find that balance between playing a lot of white-ball cricket and red-ball cricket. I just adjust slightly between formats in terms of my intent, whereas my positions and the balls I’m trying to access are quite similar. I guess with Devon going down it’s sort of big shoes to fill. He was the third or fourth top run-scorer last year in the whole competition. So, it shows how special that guy is and if I can do half of what he does, it’ll be really good for the team.
What are your goals for the tournament?
The tournament is long, and Devon will come back at some point. I guess for me it’s not necessarily about runs or a strike rate target. It’s driving the team forward, trying to contribute with as many wins as possible in little ways I can. But I think it’s just about trying to get better day by day and learning from the guys around me. You always have the end goal of wanting to win a tournament… But the whole process of it is making sure I’m in my bubble and I’m staying consistent with my preparation because that’s the stuff I can control. I can’t control the result, so I just let it be.
Did you get role clarity from CSK?
For a lot of my


career, I haven’t always opened the batting or been in the top three. I’ve kind of been seven or six, especially for NZ. So, it is a different role. But I think the role clarity comes from just playing your game and I think that’s important for all of us as a team. The freedom to go out and play your own game, not trying to be someone else, probably helps a lot in that role clarity.
Are you ready to bowl for CSK, have you been practising?
I’m always ready to bowl. I want to continue being a genuine allrounder for years to come in terms of helping the team because I feel like if you have someone in the top three who can bowl a little bit, it probably helps a bit. I just keep trying to work on my bowling, trying to be at it every day in the nets and be prepared.
What kind of upskilling have you done for the T20 format?
For me, it was more about how I could get better against playing spin and put a little bit more pressure on the bowlers in that way. And I think it was just like a development thing being in the nets and hitting specific shots that I wanted to work on. It took a long time. I practised these shots for several years, and it was nice to get that in the middle and you have a nice wicket to play on and all of a sudden it all sort of falls into place. I think it was just the volume of practising certain shots that I wanted to play.
What do you think of the CSK culture of treating the team like a family?
Yeah, accurate, it’s like a family. It’s more from players being able to be comfortable, players knowing their roles and quite a relaxed environment which makes everyone feel a bit more chill and doesn’t feel like it’s a hierarchy. Because you can always have a nice conversation with Flem (Stephen Fleming), (Michael) Hussey, Dhoni and Rutu (Ruturaj Gaikwad). It’s all pretty chill, which helps me a lot. I can come in and just be myself in that environment.