Cricket
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Only time will tell..’ – Riyan Parag’s father opens up on his ward’s IPL 2024 success

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Only time will tell..’ – Riyan Parag’s father opens up on his ward’s IPL 2024 success

Riyan Parag has to be one of the names in the IPL 2024, that has managed to turn the heads with his performance, after a few underwhelming year. His father Parag Das opens up on his journey.

It takes time, but those who put in the efforts, reap the benefits. Riyan Parag is a testimony to this, having scored his second consecutive fifty of the IPL 2024, leading Rajasthan Royals to their third successive victory.

Riyan Parag has been involved with the franchise for the past six years. Since 2019 after joining Rajasthan Royals for 20 lakh, he has played at least seven matches every season, with more than ten each year, since 2020. That’s a lot for a player whose average was about 18, and strike-rate was in the low 120s throughout career. However, Riyan had changed the narrative now.

After being promoted to the middle order, Riyan has been consistently delivering for the RR, as he looks to put his name into consideration for the upcoming T20 World Cup that starts right after the tournament. Speaking exclusively to Insidesport.IN, Riyan’s father, Parag Das opened up about his performances and his efforts beyond the glitz and glamourous world of IPL. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

Has Riyan finally arrived, according to you? After the U-19 World Cup, he showed glimpses that he is a big-stage player, but he was never really consistent. What was the reason?

Well, what can i say about that. His efforts are finally bringing in results for him and the team and we are really happy about that. He played really well in the U-19 World Cup, and he was backed a lot by Rahul Dravid at that time. Although he had a lot of good domestic performances, he could not do the same in the IPL. But now that he has started doing the same in the IPL and is getting a lot of runs, we are really happy. It’s not that he had not worked hard before. He has always been a hard worker but it just was not working out for him.

It’s not that he changed anything about himself. But there were certain areas where he was lacking. And he started working on it. And now the results are right in front of us to see.

What did the coaches at RR tell him at that time? What was his approach back then?

Rajasthan Royals’ management has always been really supportive of him. Because in the first season itself, he was the youngest player to score the fastest 50. Although he was batting in the lower order at that time. Although he lost his consistency after that, they did not stop believing in him. Coaches like Zubin and others kept backing him up. And this is one thing that I told him when he was doubting himself, ‘Why are these people backing you? It is because they have seen something in you that is the reason that they are backing you.

Did he have any self-doubt at any point when he wasn’t getting the results?

He never had a doubt in himself. He’s always a positive person. He has always been so, not getting selected or not getting runs or not. It’s not entirely in his hands. He just needs to give his best on the field and during practice also.

While other U-19 colleagues were getting India call-ups, he was being targeted on social media. What was he going through?

Like I said, he is a positive person, and I told him, ‘Please have faith in yourself because your time will come as long as you work hard.’ He’s always a positive person, and he has always been so. It’s not entirely in his hands. He just needs to give his best on the field and during practice.

Read the latest news on Riyan Parag:

He had a stellar Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Then the Ranji and now IPL. What has changed for Riyan?

He represents Assam in domestic cricket, and everybody knows that Assam is not that big of a team in the BCCI unit; they play one year and the other year they sit out. So it’s like a blessing in disguise for us. Assam always gets the difficult teams to play against like Karnataka, Mumbai, Baroda. So it makes it easier for him to face such competition, the crunch moments he has faced in the last two games. So the domestic games where he faces tough opponents make him better accustomed. Make him accustomed to those certain crunch situations.

Riyan Parag had an outstanding performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, demonstrating remarkable consistency with the bat and contributing valuable wickets as well. His impressive form wasn’t limited to the SMAT alone; in the previous edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he amassed 552 runs in 9 matches, and he also scored over 350 runs in the Deodhar Trophy.

In this edition of the SMAT, Assam advanced to the semifinals, with Riyan emerging as the leading run-scorer in the tournament, tallying 510 runs in 10 matches. Notably, he recorded seven consecutive half-centuries during the event, showcasing his exceptional batting prowess. Additionally, he proved to be effective with the ball, claiming 11 wickets with his off-spin, all while maintaining a strike rate exceeding 180.

The talent was always there. He also claimed in 2022 that he will be India’s best finisher. How do you react to that?

Only time will tell whether he can be one of India’s best finishers or whether he plays up at number four. When he has been scoring runs consistently. There’s still time for that. He can read the match very well; he can assess the situation very well, which has been evident in the last few matches. So although he started doing it recently within IPL this time, he has been doing the same in domestic cricket for the last two years.

Riyan’s is no flash-in-the-pan success, what all did he change last year to achieve the results? India next for him?

Whenever he gets time, he goes to the Rajasthan Royals Academy in Guwahati, and Zubin Bharucha sir, has been looking after him. He goes there for 20 minutes, half an hour, one hour, whatever he gets, and he practices his shots against fast bowling, his uppercuts and his reverse sweeps.

Well, about the India call-up, I cannot really say that it’s on selectors. All I could tell him was ‘please make your domestic performances better’. If people are hitting five hundreds, make sure you hit six hundreds, so that you can be in their focus right in front of their eyes. And the rest is obviously on the God for that.

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