Riyan Parag gets compared to Suryakumar Yadav after years of trolling and unwanted hatred in a dream turnaround | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Riyan Parag gets compared to Suryakumar Yadav after years of trolling and unwanted hatred in a dream turnaround

Apr 02, 2024 11:52 AM IST

After going through years of trolling and hatred, Riyan Parag is now being compared to a young version of Suryakumar Yadav, the world's No.1 T20 batter.

Riyan Parag has been in and around IPL for six years now. In every season since 2019, he has got at least seven matches to play - he got more than 10 in three back-to-back seasons from 2020. That is a lot for a player whose average hovered around 18 and the strike rate was in the early 120s for the first five years. His don't care, in-your-face attitude didn't help. Regular non-performance and his aggressive behaviour on the field turned him into the favourite subject of social media trolls. They feasted every time Parag walked back empty-handed but kept a positive attitude on the field. This continued for five long years.

Rajasthan Royals' Riyan Parag plays a shot during the match against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024(ANI )
Rajasthan Royals' Riyan Parag plays a shot during the match against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024(ANI )

A humongous credit to the Rajasthan Royals team management and the owners. Despite having numerous opportunities to dump Parag in the darkness, they kept backing him year after year. They saw what very few did. In an insanely competitive franchise environment where big international stars are at times judged by two games, the Royals invested in a loss-making asset for half a decade. And finally, in 2024, it has started to give returns and how

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Riyan Parag has been RR's best batter in two of their three league games so far and in the one he wasn't, he scored 43 off 29. The social media trolls have shamelessly taken a 180-degree turn. Unwanted abuse has turned into unheralded praise. There are talks of a berth in the Indian T20 side as well. What's more? He is being compared to a young version of Suryakumar Yadav, the world's No.1 T20 batter.

“He (Parag) sort of reminds me a little bit of Surya (Suryakumar Yadav), who came to Mumbai a few years ago. He looks like that - he has got extreme talent. He has just matured as a cricketer, even though he is only 22,” Shane Bond, the RR bowling coach, said at the post-match press conference after beating MI.

Bond played a crucial role in developing bowling talents at MI in his nine-year stint with the Mumbai-based franchise from 2015 onwards, before shifting base to Jaipur this year.

“He (Parag) has had an outstanding domestic season, obviously, batting up the order. The trade we made with Devdutt (Padikkal), bringing Avesh (Khan) in, that was to put Riyan up into a position which was probably better suited,” the former New Zealand fast bowler added.

After smashing an unbeaten 84 off 45 balls against the Delhi Capitals, Parag played a responsible knock of 54* to guide his team home in a 126-run chase.

Why RR promoted Riyan Parag up the order

Suryakumar joined MI in 2011 and spent four years at Kolkata Knight Riders from 2014-17 before he was brought back to the Mumbai side in 2018. He is recovering from a recent surgery.

Bond said Parag has had to play the role of a finisher in the IPL at a young age whereas other teams have experienced international players in that role.

“Riyan started so young, you forget that he was 17 or something, playing in one of the toughest spots in a batting line-up of No 6. You look at the characters who finish games around the IPL, they are generally pretty experienced guys,” he said.

“(The) Tim Davids, (the) Dave Millers… these are high quality players who play international cricket. Riyan has been tasked with that for a number of years. He is still a very young man, but he has got this wealth of experience behind him now.

“We are getting the best of him. The investment that RR have made of him, it's starting to reap the rewards. It is pretty exciting what he could offer for the rest of the season for us.”

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