Jeet Raval

Jeet Raval

Player Bio

Jeet Raval, a name that resonates with dedication and perseverance in the cricketing circles of New Zealand, has a story that's as intriguing as his on-field performances. Born in Gujarat, India, on September 22, 1988, Raval's journey from the cricket-loving streets of India to the professional pitches of New Zealand is a testament to his commitment to the sport.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, young Jeet was no stranger to the sound of a cricket ball hitting the bat. The sport ran in the veins of the city, and Raval was quick to catch the fever. His early days were filled with backyard cricket sessions with his cousins, honing his skills and nurturing his passion for the game. 

His talent didn't go unnoticed. Raval represented the state of Gujarat at the under-15 and under-17 levels. Interestingly, he began his cricketing journey as a medium-pace bowler. However, after a significant performance with the bat, where he scored more than 20 runs batting down the order, his coach saw potential in his batting prowess. This decision proved pivotal, as in the very next match, Raval scored a century. From that moment, batting became his primary focus, setting the stage for his future in cricket.

At the age of 16, a significant turn of events took place. Raval's family decided to move to Auckland, New Zealand. The shift was challenging for young Jeet. He had to grapple with a new language, culture, and lifestyle. However, his passion for cricket remained undeterred. A chance encounter of his father with Kit Perera, a cricket coach, at a petrol station led Raval to the Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club. This association marked the beginning of his cricketing journey in New Zealand. 

Raval's performance at the club level was commendable, leading to his selection in Auckland's under-17s and subsequently, the under-19s team. His consistent performances caught the eye of the selectors, and he was soon representing New Zealand's national under-19 team. Under the mentorship of former international cricketer Dipak Patel, Raval honed his skills further. During a youth Test series against India, he showcased his prowess with scores of 70 and 89 in two innings, cementing his reputation as a promising young talent.

While Raval's cricketing journey in New Zealand was taking off, he always held onto his Indian roots. He played alongside renowned Indian cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja during his under-15 days in India and considered former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly as his idol.

Notable Achievements in International Cricket

Jeet Raval's entry into international cricket was marked by anticipation and promise. After years of consistent performances in domestic cricket, Raval was named in New Zealand's squad for their tours to Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2016. While he didn't get a chance to showcase his skills during these tours, his debut was just around the corner.

In November 2016, the cricketing world witnessed Raval donning the black cap for the first time in a home series against Pakistan. Replacing the out-of-form batsman Martin Guptill, Raval opened the innings for New Zealand. On his debut, he showcased the temperament and technique required at the highest level, finishing the first day of play not out on 55 runs. His composure was evident in the second innings as well, where he scored an impressive 36 not out, sealing the victory for New Zealand with a boundary. His debut was not just about his batting; Raval also took four catches in the match, the most by any New Zealand non-wicketkeeper on debut.

Raval's initial years in Test cricket were marked by consistency. In his first seven Test matches, he notched up five half-centuries. While the elusive century seemed just around the corner, Raval had to wait. He finished the 2016-17 season with 493 Test runs at an impressive average of 44.81.

The wait for his maiden Test century was long but worth it. In March 2019, during a match against Bangladesh, Raval finally reached the three-figure mark, scoring a splendid 132 runs. This innings was part of a record 254-run opening partnership with Tom Latham. This partnership was not just a personal achievement for Raval but also a significant milestone for New Zealand cricket, being the highest first-wicket partnership the country had ever had against Bangladesh.

Challenges and Struggles

Like every sportsperson, Raval's journey was not devoid of challenges. After a promising start to his international career, he faced a rough patch. Questions arose about his ability to face spin bowling, leading to his omission from New Zealand's squad for their tour of India in 2016. Such challenges can be daunting for any player, especially when they are trying to cement their place in the team.

Raval's form saw a dip in 2018. His batting average, which was once a testament to his consistency, dropped to as low as 19.90 by the end of the year. While he managed to score his seventh Test half-century against Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test Match, he couldn't convert it into a century. This phase was challenging for Raval, as the pressure to perform and the weight of expectations took a toll.

Another significant challenge was the wait for his maiden Test century. Despite consistent performances and multiple half-centuries, the three-figure mark eluded him for a long time. The mental pressure of being on the brink of a significant milestone but not crossing it can be immense. Raval held the record for the most half-centuries for a New Zealander without scoring a century, a record he would have been eager to shed.

However, what sets Raval apart is his resilience. Instead of letting the challenges deter him, he used them as stepping stones. He worked on his technique, especially against spin, and sought guidance from coaches and senior players. His maiden century against Bangladesh was a testament to his hard work and determination. It was not just a personal milestone but also a message to his critics that he was here to stay.

In the world of sports, challenges and struggles are inevitable. They test the mettle of an athlete and often shape their careers. For Jeet Raval, these challenges were a part of his journey, a journey that saw him rise from the cricketing fields of Gujarat to the international arenas of New Zealand. Through his achievements and struggles, Raval has showcased that with determination and hard work, one can overcome any obstacle.

Personal Life and Off-the-field Moments

Behind the poised batsman and the diligent cricketer is Jeet Raval, the individual with a life rich in experiences and stories. Born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Raval's roots are deeply embedded in Indian culture and traditions. His early years in India were filled with the typical joys of an Indian childhood, surrounded by family, festivities, and of course, cricket.

In 2016, Raval embarked on a new journey in his personal life. He married Surabhi in a ceremony held in Ahmedabad. The couple had planned a European honeymoon, but destiny had other plans. Raval's inclusion in New Zealand's national squad meant that their honeymoon was cut short. This incident, while a testament to Raval's commitment to cricket, also highlighted the support and understanding of his partner.

Raval's move to New Zealand at the age of 16 was not just a shift in geography but also a transition between cultures, languages, and lifestyles. Adapting to the Kiwi way of life, understanding the nuances of the English language, and integrating into a new society were challenges that young Raval faced head-on. An anecdote from his early days in New Zealand highlights this cultural transition. Raval once tried to get a job at Subway but was unfamiliar with the concept of a CV, a reflection of the initial cultural gaps he encountered.

Off the field, Raval is known for his humility and grounded nature. His interactions with fans, especially young aspiring cricketers, are filled with warmth and encouragement. He often shares anecdotes from his early cricketing days in India, drawing parallels and offering advice to budding talents.

Jeet Raval's journey, from the bustling streets of Ahmedabad to the serene cricketing grounds of New Zealand, is a narrative of passion, perseverance, and persistence. His story is not just about cricketing milestones but also about personal growth, cultural transitions, and the unwavering support of loved ones.

Raval's cricketing career has seen its fair share of highs and lows. From the euphoria of scoring a maiden Test century to the introspection during form slumps, he has experienced the full spectrum of emotions that international cricket has to offer. However, through all these phases, Raval's dedication to the sport and his hunger to improve have remained constant.

Looking ahead, the future holds immense promise for Jeet Raval. While he has already made significant contributions to New Zealand cricket, his best years might still be ahead of him. With a solid technique, a mature head on his shoulders, and an insatiable appetite for runs, Raval is poised to be a mainstay in the New Zealand batting lineup for years to come.

Moreover, Raval's experiences, both on and off the field, position him as a potential mentor for young cricketers. His insights into adapting to different playing conditions, understanding the mental aspects of the game, and navigating the challenges of international cricket can be invaluable for the next generation of players.

In conclusion, Jeet Raval's story is a testament to the fact that dreams, when pursued with dedication and hard work, can transcend borders and barriers. As he continues to grace the cricketing fields with his prowess, fans and enthusiasts will be keenly watching, not just for his on-field exploits, but for the inspiration that his journey provides.


Where was Jeet Raval born?
Jeet Raval was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

When did Jeet Raval make his debut for the New Zealand cricket team?
Jeet Raval made his debut for the New Zealand cricket team in November 2016 against Pakistan.

Which cricket club did Raval join upon moving to New Zealand?
Upon moving to New Zealand, Jeet Raval joined the Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club.

When did Raval score his maiden Test century?
Jeet Raval scored his maiden Test century in March 2019 against Bangladesh.

Who are some of the Indian cricketers Raval played alongside during his under-15 days in India?
During his under-15 days in India, Jeet Raval played alongside renowned cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja.