Riyan Parag hopes to excel in ‘toughest role’

Mumbai, March 16 : At the age of just 20, Riyan Parag will be taking part in his fourth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when his team Rajasthan Royals kick off their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 29. The all-rounder from Guwahati already has 30 IPL matches under his belt, and is ready to make the most of the upcoming tournament. “I started my IPL journey at the Royals, and I’m delighted that I was bought back. I know there were four teams involved in the bidding and it was nice to see that because that means I’ve been doing something right. But I was always rooting to come back here. Why this team means so much to me is because of the very family vibe, where everyone takes care of you, everyone is very friendly and approachable. It’s just a very positive set-up which can help you develop and excel, and that is what I intend to do,” expressed Riyan. Reflecting on his domestic season so far, Riyan said it has been “average” for the standards he has set for himself. “I recently played the Ranji Trophy, and even if I like missed a few 100s, I think I was in good nick and was batting well. In terms of bowling too, I got my first five-fer. So yes, there is still huge scope for improvement. The focus now is on prepping up for the IPL as I’ve played less white ball cricket in the last month or so, but a few sessions of good practice should help in preparing,” added the youngster, who has recently appeared in his graduation exams. Talking about the Royals’ squad for the 2022 season, Riyan feels his team has managed to “plug in the gaps”. He stated, “I think we have a really strong line-up this year. We’ve covered all aspects. I think the management has done a really good job to put all the players together.” Asked who he is most looking forward to working with, Riyan had a clear answer, “That will definitely be Ashwin. If not the best ever, he’s like one of the best off-spinners going around in the world, and I’ll definitely try to carry a red ball with me in the tournament so that I can get a few tips. “But even with the white ball, I think if I can pick his brains on the varieties and all the mysteries, I think my white-ball bowling is going to be much better after the season.” While signing off, the youngster also reflected on his ambitions for the season. “I think it’s about having a simple goal of winning matches for the team whenever I’m given the opport ty, and at the end of the day, being very consistent. I think a lot of people will tell you this, the role that I play is the toughest one in T20 cricket, batting at 6 or 7, finishing off games. “I know I haven’t produced as many performances as I would have liked, but I think now I understand myself much better as a player and understand what my strengths are. So, I hope it’s going to be my year.”

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