‘Batters going all-out in IPL, I think, was just a one-season thing’: RR's Riyan Parag | Crickit

‘Batters going all-out in IPL, I think, was just a one-season thing’: RR's Riyan Parag

By, Mumbai
May 30, 2024 06:31 AM IST

The Impact Player rule might change and IPL might go down differently in the future, says the Rajasthan Royals player.

After five years in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he managed a total of 600 runs, it finally felt like Riyan Parag announced his arrival this time around. The 22-year-old scored 573 runs to finish as the third highest run-getter in IPL 2024, playing a key role in Rajasthan Royals’ run to the playoffs.

Rajasthan Royals' Riyan Parag plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 match(PTI)
Rajasthan Royals' Riyan Parag plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 match(PTI)

In an interview on the sidelines of the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals, Parag spoke about how he has matured, batters being ultra-aggressive, his ambitions as an all-rounder, India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, and more.

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Are there any changes you’ve made in terms of your game or mindset over the past year?

I didn’t make much of a change. Domestically, I play at No.4 for Assam and it was just a matter of time before I got into similar situations in the IPL. In the IPL, no matter who says it’s just a game, it’s a much bigger stage for the players. So, it was just about implementing what I had been doing in domestic cricket. I didn’t really change my mindset or technique. It was just about a general upgrade, repeating what I had been doing, sticking to the basics, and not trying to do something extraordinary. When 50,000 people are watching you, every shot is being analysed and legends of the game are commentating, it’s very easy to try and please someone. I figured I didn’t have to do that.

How did you sustain your form throughout the season?

Everyone says maturity comes with age, but I believe it comes with pain. The things I’ve suffered over the past two-three years. This suffering comes from outside because I’m out here in the sun working as hard as I can. Suffering is when you have hateful stuff coming your way from people you don’t even know. These people don’t know me personally and have formed opinions based on my game. I started when I was around 17 and when you see stuff like this for years, it’s a big thing to digest. So, that’s matured me a lot. I’ve just figured out that it’s very important what I think of myself and not what others say. Everything else is just white noise then.

Do you think this trend of batters going all guns blazing will continue?

I think it was just a one-season thing. The Impact Player rule has, of course, changed things because now openers are just hands free and can smack from ball one. I feel the rule might change and the IPL might go down differently in the future. It’s never going to happen in international cricket, right, so everyone has to value their wicket. You know you can’t lose your wicket off the first ball.

Do you like the Impact Player rule?

As an all-rounder, I would say no. I like to bowl and the only way that will happen is if our three frontline bowlers get smacked, which is something I don’t want. So, once this rule goes away, I could be the fifth or sixth bowler and do a lot more. Of course, it isn’t my decision to make but yes, if it was up to me, I would remove this rule.

Do you think the game these days is too favourable for batters?

I have a completely different view. Batters can only make one mistake, whereas bowlers get five more balls (in an over) if they make a mistake. So, how is it a batter’s game? Batters are playing exceptionally well so you have to give them credit, not demean them. You can’t just say “oh no, it’s a batter’s game, rules this and that” and all that drama. You’ve got to understand that even if it’s a Test, a batter can bowl 20 overs while a batter is only allowed one mistake. They get more opportunities in a game regardless of how they play, and if I get out, I’ll get another game after four days. So, if you look at it that way, I believe it’s a bowler’s game only.

The Indian team has struggled with a lack of bowling options in the batting order. Because the competition for batting slots is so fierce, do you think players have stopped paying attention to their secondary skill?

I don’t even want to think about what other batters are doing. I know I want to bowl and that’s it. I want to take out the time to enhance my bowling and chip in with a couple of overs. I’ve never paid less attention to my bowling. If you do that, it just means you’re not working as hard. It’s very easy to say “okay, I’ve batted for four hours, it’s my main skill, and now I’m very tired”. That’s not how you get to the next level. If you’ve batted for four hours, rest up and come back to bowl for another hour. You have to figure out ways, else you’ll just be stuck.

In the T20 World Cup, which areas do you think India need to improve to have a better chance this time?

I can never watch cricket as a fan, I’ll always do it as a player. I hate when people watch cricket as fans. If you do that, please don’t speak to me because there are very different perspectives. People say a lot of things but they don’t understand all the intricacies. When I make it to the Indian team, I’ll play my brand of cricket. Right now, the ones who have made it are all professionals and know how to handle different situations. We’ve played good cricket each time. The benchmark set by fans, not by players or pundits, is that we have to win the World Cup. You’ve got to understand that winning a World Cup is a big thing, you can’t expect that going into the tournament. At RR, we expected to make the playoffs because that’s a reasonable and realistic goal. And then we would see as in the knockouts, it can go either way on a given day. So, I think these expectations have messed up everything. As a cricketer, I believe we’ve been playing incredible cricket. We were exceptional in the ODI World Cup last year. If you watch cricket as just a sport, you’ll know the Indian team is doing a wonderful job. If you expect them to win every tournament, now that’s on you. You go sit and cry in the corner because as a cricketer, I’ve loved the way they’ve been playing.

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