Jeet Raval has firmly established himself as the ideal partner to Tom Latham at the top of the New Zealand batting order in Test cricket.
If only the Blackcaps opener could’ve stuck around for another 16-runs. That’s exactly what Jeet Raval will be saying to himself at the tea break this afternoon. Dismissed for 84, Raval had played the near-perfect innings, and was on track to bring up his maiden Test century, and fell short again.
But regardless, Raval is the find that New Zealand have been searching for at the top of the order and is the ideal choice to partner Tom Latham.
Jeet Raval: The Find That New Zealand Were So Desperate For
For many seasons prior, New Zealand struggled to find an opening pair that could be effective in Test cricket. Tom Latham, clearly seen as an opening specialist in the longer form, needed a partner that could spend several hours at the crease.
Jeet Raval was, and still is, that man. He was a diamond in the rough that had to wait his turn, and waited he did.
A fellow left-hander, Raval has averaged a tick under 50 since making his Test debut last summer. Teams that the 29-year old has batted against at the International level include South Africa and Pakistan; two of the better bowling attacks in World Cricket. On debut, Raval scored 55 and 36, before achieving his highest score of 88 later in his first International summer. In First-Class cricket, Raval has a highest score of 256 and has converted half-centuries into tons nearly 50% of the time.
The point being, Raval was always going to rack up the runs for New Zealand, and his still young International career is proving it.
Raval Goes For 84 Prior To Tea Break
In today’s performance, Raval was aggressive towards the balls that deserved it, and cautious under a barrage of high balls that the West Indian bowlers sent his way. All poise at the crease, Raval played like a batsman that really didn’t want to lose his wicket.
Raval has said in recent media reports that he wants his batting average to improve, and despite his obvious desire to dig in for a day of batting at the crease, Raval also took calculated risks, even when the ball may not have been right in his wheelhouse. One example being when he attempted to cut the ball and very nearly found the slip fielder, only to attempt the shot again on the very next ball to hit it perfectly.
The choice in shots wasn’t always fantastic, but the vision was sign of a batsman in form and seeing the ball well. If only that could’ve continued.
New Zealand are 173/3 at the tea break.