IPL - Riyan Parag
Riyan Parag, Rajasthan Royals allrounder, during a pre-season endurance training session for IPL 2022. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: Riyan Parag, the cherubic allrounder from Assam may be only 20, but has already spent three seasons in the pressure-cooker environment of Indian Premier League. Bought back by Rajasthan Royals whose management has given a more wholesome look to their squad after the mega auction, Parag wants to raise the bar for himself in the 2022 edition which begins in less than two weeks’ time.

For a start, he wants to pick the brains of Ravi Ashwin, now a teammate, to sharpen his leg spin bowling - apart from finishing more matches for the ‘Halla Bol’ gang. ‘‘If not the best ever, he’s (Ashwin) is 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,” he said.

“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,” he told the Royals media.


Reflecting on his ambitions for the season. Parag said: “I think it’s about having a simple goal of winning matches for the team whenever I’m given the opportunity, 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,” said Parag, a product of the franchise’s talent-hunt scheme.

Looking back at previous three years in IPL where he has had 30 matches under his belt, Parag was grateful that his franchise had bought him back despite being a moderate success so far. “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,” Parag said as he joined the team’s pre-season camp in Jaipur after the quarantine period.

Sanga-Malinga in dugout

Commenting on the Royals squad for the 2022 season, Parag felt that his team has managed to “plug in’’ the gaps. “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,’’ he said.

The team management has, apart from assembling a decent team, staged a casting coup by roping in Lasith Malinga as their bowling coach. The combination of Kumar Sangakkara, their Director of Cricket Operations since last year, and his erstwhile teammate had once famously won Sri Lanka their only T20 World Cup in 2014.

It remains to be seen if they can reproduce the magic in the IPL this year.