'Only Dhoni has mastered it' - Riyan Parag on IPL role that he is looking to ace

Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Riyan Parag opened up on the IPL role he is looking to ace, and how he deals with criticism.
Riyan Parag and MS Dhoni?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4
“I am just sorting my way through it”

Riyan Parag, who was signed by the Rajasthan Royals at an age of 17 in the IPL 2019 auction, has had a fairly underwhelming run for the franchise since, despite being a regular in the XI. Parag has managed just 522 runs at 16.84 and a strike-rate of 124.88 from 47 appearances till date, while bagging four wickets at an economy of 10.7 from the limited opportunities he has got with the ball.

Designated to bat in the lower-middle order as the finisher, Parag said that the role is one of the toughest in T20 cricket, one he feels only MS Dhoni has mastered over the years. He looks forward to get better on it in near future.

“It’s the tougher job in T20 cricket, to just come in and slog,” Parag told Sportskeeda. “Numbers six and seven are the hardest places to play in T20 cricket. Only some of the guys have mastered it. Not even some, I’ll just say only MS Dhoni has mastered it and no one else has.

“And I am doing it at such an early stage in my career. Not even master it, I am just getting too close to knowing what it all feels like – I am just sorting my way through it. So people can just talk whatever they want, but I know how hard a job it is and my team believes in me.”

Parag marked the IPL 2022 season as a fairly low point in his career, wherein he could manage just 86 runs at 12.29, while striking at 111.69 from 12 matches, which called for criticism. The 21-year-old spoke further how he deals with whatever is said of him.

“2020 was a very low point in my career,” he said. “And then, I talked a lot to myself and I figured out that only my opinion matters and no one else’s does. Even if Sangakkara and Sanju Samson tell good things about me and if I don’t believe in them, I think it doesn’t really make any sense or doesn’t have any impact on myself. 

“So I think the outside noise is always there and will always be there. I do well and the same people are going to praise me and keep me as a king. So it doesn’t really matter. I know what I think of myself and I’ll stick to that.”

Parag is currently playing at the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022 for his state Assam, and the team, led by Kunal Saikia, has qualified for the quarterfinal for the first time in 10 years, having beaten Delhi earlier this week.