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Riyan Parag is ready — but is the rest of the world?

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Last updated on 28 Mar 2024 | 05:59 PM
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Riyan Parag is ready — but is the rest of the world?

Two games into the season, Riyan Parag has shown the world what he is made of

In Riyan Parag’s own words, it is “tough to support someone like me, I do things differently, my collar is up, whatever it is.”

Polarising opinions aren't new in a country of 1.4 billion people. It most definitely isn’t new when it comes to cricket, cinema or politics. At the age of 22, Riyan has seen the best and worst of the cricketing world. 

Also Read: How Riyan Parag deals with hatred, trolls and criticism

Some call him a ‘certain superstar’, the others were busy turning down any suggestion of that kind. It could affect anyone but not Riyan, who has learnt to keep the highs and lows on the same pedestal. 

When he walked out to play his debut Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Parag had earned the praise of being a certain superstar, when he scored 43, 47 and 50. Two years later, he was at an all-time low after people flipped like a switch, criticising him for his celebrations. 

Four years on, he doesn’t care because the world is now finally united. He’s a lot more mature; he now knows that listening to the outside world might be futile. The biggest change of them all is that he has finally been given the No.4 spot. 

Also Read: Why a promotion to No.4 could help RR get the best out of Riyan Parag

It is a spot that he has donned with utmost success at the domestic level. 

"It was a cricketing decision. We looked at how he has performed over the years,” Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, told ESPNCricinfo. 

Parag was coming off an incredulous season for Assam in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT), where he scored seven consecutive half-centuries, the longest streak for any batter in T20 history. T20 has existed for 21 years, and no batter has had such a streak. 

It made total sense for Rajasthan then to promote the youngster to No.4, taking away any sort of pressure that would have normally existed had he batted lower down the order. The move has now transformed Parag's IPL career. 


"If they (Royals) were to ask me where I want to bat, I would say No. 4,” Parag told PTI last year. 

It wasn’t like he wasn’t clear. He always knew that batting in the top four would bring the best out of him. But what differentiates this season from all the other seasons is how he has handled the situation and batted accordingly. 

In the first clash of the season, the 22-year-old walked in at 49/2 and played the situation, scoring 15 runs off his first 10 deliveries to get off to a brisk start. Then, in the next ten delivery phase, he didn’t really take the attack to Lucknow Super Giants on a slow and tacky surface, scoring 13 off 10 balls. 

But once he got past that stage, he amped it up, scoring 15 off nine before eventually being dismissed. It was just a trailer but Parag showed enough in that knock that he was ready for the season.

The second clash wasn’t different, as the youngster entered the ground with the score reading 30/2. He saw 30/2 turn into 36/3 and a real glow in the eyes of the Delhi Capitals. They knew they were just one wicket away from grabbing the contest by the scruff of its neck. But then Parag made every single doubter eat their own words. 

Parag was 15 off 19. The ball wasn’t coming cleanly off his bat. He seemed to be struggling on yet another tacky surface. If not for the massive six, he wouldn’t have been on 26 off 26. It was that kind of a surface here in Rajasthan. 

“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 both sides of the wicket, that's what I've been working on lately,” the 22-year-old said post his knock. 

The youngster put in a lot of work in the off-season with Zubin Bharucha, and the same was evident. In the next 19 deliveries, Parag scored 58 runs, with a strike rate of 308. While he did explode, the best came in the 20th over of the clash against the raw pace of Anrich Nortje. 

An already forgettable night for Nortje turned into a nightmare. The pain that was inflicted grew longer and longer as the over progressed. Nortje lined up a yorker and a few seconds later, was left hands on head with an edge going for a boundary. 

But a delivery later, he was perhaps rethinking life. For Parag absolutely smashed the leather off the ball, which rocketed to the boundary. Then came a six through wide long-off, which the batter absolutely loved every bit of. A ball later, Parag read Nortje once more, slicing the ball between Pant, the keeper, and short third. 

The best, though, was yet to come. 

Penultimate ball of the innings, and in came A TONKING. The ball flew. It travelled faster than light, sound, or whatever is the fastest thing on earth. 25 runs off the last over, Parag went from 26 off 26 to 84 off 45. 

“It's been tough, I am a bit emotional right now.”

The last few years have been tough for the youngster, but all that Riyan Parag wants is to enjoy cricket. He is now ready — what about the rest of the world?

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