A promising all-rounder in the making

While he can build partnerships in the middle-order, Riyan Parag’s leg-breaks are quite effective too.

Rajasthan Royals picked up Riyan Parag for Rs20 lakh in the IPL auction. The youngster justified his selection by powering the Rajasthan side to a three-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in only his fourth game of the IPL, on April 25.   -  AFP

Age: 17

From: Guwahati

Education: Class XII, South Point School, Guwahati

Mentors: Parag Das and Nawab Ali

Beginning: Coming from a family of sports personalities — his father Parag Das is a former Ranji Trophy cricketer and his mother Mithu Baruah is a former national swimmer — Riyan was introduced to cricket when he was just two years old. While his father would do drills standing in front of the mirror, Riyan would try to imitate him. Soon, he started playing on the concrete wickets at the Railways quarters ground in Maligaon in Guwahati. A few years later, his father took him to a coach, Nawab Ali, and that’s how his journey began. Riyan would train regularly at the Nehru Stadium. In 2010, Riyan’s batting impressed Sandeep Patil, who was given the task of identifying talented boys for the under-16 camp through an all-India talent hunt programme. Even though Riyan was selected for the camp, the Board of Control for Cricket in India later decided to put off the residential camp.

Riyan was, however, called in for trials for the U-16 team. In 2013, a 12-year-old Riyan made his debut at the U-16 level and was drafted into the U-19 Assam side the following year. He made his presence felt as he hammered a half-century on debut against Baroda. There was no looking back from then on. In 2017, he made his Youth Test debut on India U-19’s tour of England and struck fifties in both innings of the debut fixture against England U-19.

That year, Riyan was picked for the Assam Ranji Trophy team and he has played four first-class and 15 List-A games so far.

His biggest moment, however, came last year as he was part of the India U-19 team, which clinched the World Cup in New Zealand. Even though he suffered an injury during the tournament, he did a play a few games. “Winning the World Cup is the biggest moment in my cricketing career so far,” Riyan says.

In the Indian Premier League auctions in Jaipur in December last year, he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for ₹20 lakh.

Aim: “In the next few years, my aim is to establish myself in the domestic and international circuit. Then I want to go step by step to achieve my main goal which is to play for the senior Indian team. I want to perform well in whatever tournaments come my way,” Riyan says.

Strong points: The youngster’s all-round abilities have held him in good stead. While he can build partnerships in the middle order, his leg-breaks are quite effective, too.

Focus area: Riyan says his main focus will be to be consistent. “That’s what you need when you play at such a high level. Where everyone is performing well, you have to maintain your position.”

What they say

Riyan’s parents say that they have never forced him to take up cricket as a profession. “We have always asked him if he wants to play cricket or take up a different career option,” his father Parag says. “We had even given him a choice of pursuing Business Administration, but he wanted to play cricket,” Parag adds. Since childhood, Riyan has been a keen observer of the game, but at the same time, he fared well in school examinations. “He is good in studies and he has been a very quiet and obedient kid,” the father says.

Riyan Parag made his debut for Assam’s senior state side in the inter-state T20 competition in 2017.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

Career graph

2013: Riyan made his debut at the under-16 level at the age of 12.

2014: Made it to the under-19 Assam side.

2017: Picked for Assam’s senior state side for the inter-state Twenty20 competition.

Picked for the India U-19 team for two Youth Tests in England. His twin 50s in the first game — which included a 33-ball half-century, the second-fastest behind Virat Kohli in recorded youth Tests — helped India post a victory.

Made his first-class debut for Assam against Hyderabad. Became the first Indian born in the 21st century, to have played first-class cricket.

Became the leading run-getter in the U-19 One-day Challenge tournament, amassing 207 runs.

2018: Made it to India’s U-19 World Cup team, which went on to clinch the title.

Rajasthan Royals picked him for ₹20 lakh in the Indian Premier League auction.

2019: Made his Indian Premier League debut for Rajasthan Royals.