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IPL 2019: Riyan Parag hopes to be first international cricketer from Assam

Nobody from Assam has played for the senior Indian cricket team yet. Riyan Parag dreams of being the first.

In front of a full house at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here over the weekend, facing a bowling attack that featured Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and Hardik Pandya, and batting alongside Steve Smith, he showed he certainly has a right to dream. He made a 29-ball 43 before being run out and helped ensure a necessary win for Rajasthan Royals.

Watching him bat with remarkable maturity, it was difficult to believe he had turned 17 only last October and that it was only his second IPL match. In his third, against Delhi Capitals on Monday, he became the second-youngest ever wicket-taker in the IPL, when he removed Shreyas Iyer. He could well be the find of the season.

Parag had been looking forward to playing for the Royals ever since attending its trials. “I had done decently well and was hoping for a call,” Parag told Sportstar. “But being the last name at the auction was a bit nerve-wracking.”

Looking back at the most famous innings yet of his young career, he said Smith was very helpful in the middle. “He calmed me down and asked me to play my natural game,” Parag said. “He said if the ball was there to be hit, go for it. It was overall a good match for me, as I was able to contribute to my team’s victory.”

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“The atmosphere (at Rajasthan Royals) is very friendly and homely,” he said. “There is no junior-senior kind of thing. The seniors, like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Steve, are open for discussion any time.”

His goal is to be an international cricketer like them.

“When I started playing cricket, my dad (Parag Das, who played 43 First Class matches for Assam) said that I should have a goal,” said the lone IPL player from Assam. “I told him that I wanted to play for the senior Indian team.”

It was after watching his father playing cricket that Parag became interested in the game. “He has been my biggest inspiration,” he said. “I am also grateful to my first coach Nawab Ali and the Assam Cricket Association for all they have done. The conditions in Assam are not favourable for cricket as it is raining all the time.”

He’d be happy to inspire more youngsters from Assam to take up cricket. “I myself am young still, of course,” he said. “But I would tell them to have a dream and chase that dream.”

Article source: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/cricket/ipl/ipl-2019-rajasthan-royals-riyan-parag-assam-cricket-indian-team/article26926395.ece

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