IPL 2024 – ‘This is what I do’ – Riyan Parag relishes success at No. 4 with Royals

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Riyan Parag‘s promotion to No. 4 is paying dividends for Rajasthan Royals. It’s a position familiar to the 22-year-old, who topped the run-scoring charts – with 510 runs at an average of 85 and strike rate of 182.79 – in the previous edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He has carried that form forward into IPL 2024.
Parag started his season with a 43 against Lucknow Super Giants and followed it with an unbeaten 84 against Delhi Capitals. On Monday, with his side in just a bit of trouble at 42 for 2 chasing 126 against Mumbai Indians, he kept his composure and stayed unbeaten on a 39-ball 54 to take Royals over the line. With 181 runs in three innings, he also became the joint-top run-getter in IPL 2024 along with Virat Kohli.

While No. 4 might be a new position for Parag in the Royals line-up, it is a slot he is accustomed to in the domestic circuit for Assam.

“When I play domestically this is the exact type of situation I go in to bat,” Parag told the host broadcasters after the game. “When Jos [Buttler] bhai got out and Ash [R Ashwin] bhai got out a little after, I was like ‘this is what I do, this is what I’ve been doing for the last six months playing domestic cricket’. So it was pretty simple to calculate everything.”

Royals had restricted Mumbai to 125 for 9 at the Wankhede stadium but were rocked early with Akash Madhwal striking twice in the powerplay. The fast bowler removed Buttler too, but Parag carried on unfazed and stitched a 40-run stand with Ashwin calming down proceedings.

Parag has been floating between the No. 5 and No. 7 positions in the Royals batting line-up over the years. While a stable role that mirrors the one he has in domestic cricket helps, the two tournaments are not of the same level to transition seamlessly. In fact, it was Parag’s practice that enabled him to unlock his consistency against the best bowlers, which in this case, included Madhwal, Jasprit Bumrah, and Gerald Coetzee.

“I have had three to four years of not performing at all, or even performing if it’s one match a season,” he said. “And you really go back to your hotel room and you think of yourself, that when you know you can do something and the performances are not coming, you get back to the drawing room [board]. I tried finding what was wrong, and I figured out that I was not practicing at this level enough.

“So I went back after the [last] season and practised very hard, and I think that’s showing now. I’ve practiced these type of quick balls and these kind of scenarios a lot, hence the performances.”

Parag stayed till the end of the chase to ensure his team remained unbeaten in the competition and catapult to the top of the points table. On the way, he also earned himself the orange cap.

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