Riyan Parag

Cricketer Riyan Parag is finally ticking the right boxes and hitting the hard runs. The 22-year-old cricketer from Assam, has finally paid dividends to the long faith bestowed on him by the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals with two back-to-back match-winning knocks.

On March 28, Riyan Parag blasted 84 runs off 45 balls, including 25 runs in the final over bowled by Delhi’s express pacer Anrich Nortje to help the Royals recover from 36 for 3 to post 185 on the board in 20 overs on a pitch that was not entirely easy for the batters.

Riyan’s knock earned him praise from experts and fans alike – with almost everyone saying in unison: “We have been waiting long for this moment.”

Hailing Riyan’s heroic knock against Delhi Capitals on March 28, Mumbai Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav highlighted that his prediction came true when he saw him at NCA a few weeks ago.

“Met a guy at NCA few weeks ago. He came with a slight niggle. Completely focused on his recovery and with great discipline working on his skills. And I was not wrong to tell that to one of the coaches there ‘He is a changed guy’. RIYAN PARAG 2.0. Watch out,” Surya posted on X.

Speaking during the mid innings break on the misery he piled on Nortje in the last over, Riyan Parag said it was the practice that started reaping rewards now.

“It’s a result of a lot of practice behind the scenes. It’s not the bowler but the ball he’s bowling and I practised against a lot of those balls and could execute the shots tonight. I have my options ready on both sides of the wicket, that’s what I’ve been working on lately. I back myself, I know I have the power to dig out yorkers and hit sixes off short balls. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t,” he said.

Praising the young cricketer, broadcaster Harsha Bhogle said: “The seeds of this sensational innings from Riyan Parag were sown in domestic cricket. Delighted for him.”

Harsha was pointing out Riyan’s performance at the domestic circuit last season. Riyan scored 354 runs in the Deodhar Trophy zonal 50-over tournament to top the batting charts at an average of 88.50. He then took it to another level in Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic T20 tournament, hitting 510 runs in 10 matches at an average of 85 and strike rate of 182 as he led Assam to a semi-final finish.

Impressed by the knock, former cricketer Irfan Pathan predicted that Riyan will be playing for India. “In the next two years Riyan Parag is playing for India,” he wrote on X.

In RR’s opening game of the season against Lucknow in Jaipur, Riyan Parag played the sidekick to Sanju Samson, stitching a 93-run partnership in their total of 193. The Assam batter smashed 43 runs off 29 balls which was laced with three sixes and a four.

‘A Bihu dancer who also plays for Rajasthan Royals’

Commenting on Riyan’s performance then, former Rajasthan batter Robin Uthappa said: “It is good to see Riyan Parag doing well in the first match. Earlier he used to talk more on X and do less. This time he is finally letting his bat talk.” Uthappa was referring to the heavy trolls Riyan faced for his multiple comments.

Riyan Parag was often targeted on the social media for his poor run at the IPL. Popular for his famous on-field celebrations dancing Bihu, trolls often criticized the young cricketer as ‘a Bihu dancer who also plays in the IPL’.

The new Number 4

The Rajasthan franchise deserves a lot of credit for grooming the young man despite the lows in the previous seasons. The move to promote Riyan to a settled Number 4 position seems to have helped the cricketer.

After the Royals’ first match on March 24, coach Kumar Sangakkara was pleased as he talked about the strategic move to let Riyan Parag bat at number 4.

“We looked at how Riyan performed over the years,” Sangakkara said. “It is a difficult thing for someone like Riyan who has an overall game to only get the toughest parts of the game, where he has to come in and up the run rate at the death.”

“The hard work he has done and the runs he has scored leading in the domestic season all played a part in that decision. He is good against pace and spin, and that number is ideal for him. And Riyan is off to a great start,” Sangakkara had said after the first match on March 24.

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About Jayanta Deka

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Jayanta Deka is a Guwahati-based journalist with over a decade of experience in journalism. Tracking new media, technology, startups, human interest stories and politics interest him. Currently serving as the Editor at The News Mill, he can be reached through [email protected] or [email protected]