Riyan Parag - a name that IPL aficionados must be getting familiar with over the past couple of weeks. Just 17 years and 4 games old, Parag is slowly making a name for himself in the crowded promising Indian youngsters list, which includes names like Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Rishab Pant, among others.
A couple of sparkling 40s against Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders is what it has taken for everyone to stand up and take notice. It’s not just the numbers, but the sheer confidence and audacity with which he has gone about his cricket, unmoved by the stage and gamut of international level talent in the IPL. So, who exactly is Riyan Parag?
Born into a sporting family, Riyan Parag is a second-generation cricketer. His father, Parag Das, represented Assam and Railways in the domestic circuit. His mother, Mithoo, was also into sports, and was a national level swimming champion.
Riyan was spotted as a wonderkid right from the beginning of his days in cricket. He almost became the youngest ever first-class debutant in India at the age of 14, but for a difference of opinion between Assam’s selectors and then coach, Sanath Kumar. However, at the age of 15, he was picked in Assam’s senior state side for the inter-state T20 competition. He even went on to play a couple of Vijay Hazare trophy matches for his team.
Parag was then also selected in India’s U-19 squad for two youth tests in England. He was the second highest run scorer, behind Prithvi Shaw, with 3 fifties and 178 runs, in a 2-0 series win. He was then also picked in 2018’s U-19 Cricket World Cup, which India went on to win. Though he had modest batting returns in the tournament, mainly due to missing the first couple of weeks due to injury, he used that time to develop his secondary skill of off-spin. All said and done, he had definitely caught the eyes of quite a few selectors across the table. Most importantly, the think-tank at Rajasthan Royals.
Slotted into the role of a finisher in his very first season, Riyan Parag has not looked one bit out of place. He exudes confidence and it permeates into his batting. Being mentored by the likes of arguably the best Test batsman in the world right now, Steve Smith, would certainly go a long way in moulding him further as a cricketer. Still just 17 and a half, there’s still a lot of time left for him to hone his game further and become a legitimate contender for the national team.
We aren’t far away from the first ever International player from Assam, are we?