Is Riyan Parag ready to join the 'Men in Blue'?
After smashing a six off Khaleel Ahmed over point and taking Rajasthan Royals to a nail biting victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, Assam lad Riyan Parag has become the talk of the town. The 18-year-old has the strength to hit the long ball, and he had shown it last year, when he became the youngest to hit an IPL fifty.
The Royals needed 81 runs from the last eight overs of their chase against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, with the pitch getting slower, which prevented the batsmen from hitting through the line. But, the composure shown by Riyan Parag was commendable. He held his nerve in a pressure situation, as he did not hit a boundary in the first three overs of his partnership with Rahul Tewatia, as the young cricketer set himself up to take the chase deep.
After the game, the 18-year-old said in a post-match interview, “When I went into bat, after a few balls, I had a clear mind that I wanted to go after the 16th over”. Speaking about handling Rashid Khan he said, "Rashid was bowling well, the spinners were bowling well, the wicket was slow as well. We just had to target the fast bowlers and the plan worked out perfectly."
Former Australian skipper and the present skipper of Rajasthan Royals, Steve Smith was all praise for the Assam cricketer, as, he said that he was really proud of Riyan that he made a comeback with a winning knock, in a pitch which wasn’t the easiest to bat on.
Smith said, “He[Parag] was magnificent”.
The maturity that had earned a lot of praise in the previous year’s IPL, came into force once again in testing times, in what was an extremely important game for Parag.
Parag has had a pretty tipsy-turvy run in this season of the IPL so far, after having an impressive season as a finisher in the previous year’s IPL. Just 17 years of age last year, Parag displayed immense maturity for someone of his age, and played some real handy knocks for the Royals, which touted him as the one to look out for.
However, unfortunately for Parag, he soon became the fall-guy from a golden-boy as the 2020 season progressed, with the Royals lurching from one defeat to another.
With scores of 6, 0, 1, 16 in his first four games of the season, the axe finally fell on Parag and he was dropped for the next two games.
But, what a terrific comeback it was from Parag, as he took his team over the line with a six and broke into the traditional Bihu dance of Assam, as he remained on an unbeaten 42.
Parag made his debut in the IPL in 2019, after he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for Rs 20 lakh at the auctions, after making a mark on the international stage at a young age of 16.
He was a member of India’s 2018 U19 World Cup-winning squad in New Zealand, prior to which he had scored three half-centuries in a two-match unofficial Test series for the Indian colts in England.
Parag has shown that he could be trusted upon, and this might be the season which will set him up for the biggest stage and make a mark playing for the Indian team.
A look into Riyan Parag’s short yet promising career
First-class debut Assam v Hyderabad (India) at Guwahati, Nov 17-20, 2017
Last First-class Assam v Tripura at Guwahati, Feb 12-15, 2020
List A debut Assam v Railways at Delhi, Mar 3, 2017
Last List A Assam v Puducherry at Dehradun, Oct 17, 2019
T20s debut Assam v Jharkhand at Kolkata, Jan 29, 2017
Last T20s Delhi Capitals v Rajasthan Royals at Dubai (DSC), Oct 14, 2020
Stats courtesy ESPNcricinfo