New Delhi, Over the years, Rajasthan Royals (RR) have gained the reputation of giving young players a chance to shine on the biggest stage. 18-year-old Riyan Parag is one such player who has become a household name for his exploits with the Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Assam lad caught the imagination of fans and critics alike after he became the youngest half-centurion in the history of IPL last year following his fifty against Delhi Capitals at the tender age of 17 years and 175 days. Now, the stylish right-hander is ready for a more consistent role in the 13th edition of the cash-rich league, which will be played in the UAE later this year.
"I had a very good season last year and feel lucky to be with the Rajasthan Royals. I don't like to take pressure from the outside. It is more about preparing for the situation that is ahead of you," Red Bull athlete Riyan Parag told IANS.
"I like to be in the zone when I am in the middle and I don't pay much attention to what people are talking about me or my performance. It obviously feels good to hear nice things about you but I do not let success get into my head," he added
Royals is also the home of some of the best foreign players in the world. The team is led by Australia's talismanic batsman Steve Smith while the middle-order is provided stability by one of the best all-rounders in the world in Ben Stokes. Not to forget the bowling department, which is marshalled ably by Jofra Archer.
"It feels like a dream come true to share the dressing room with legends like Steve Smith and Ben Stokes," Parag, who was bought for his base price of Rs 20 lakh in 2019 IPL auction, said.
"As I have even mentioned in the (RR) documentary, when I came out to bat versus CSK, Stokesy (Ben Stokes) told me to play without pressure as if it was a gully cricket match.
"I admire how Smudge (Smith) backed all the bowlers, especially young players like me. He is a great leader and I enjoyed playing under him," he added.
Parag was recently seen in Rajasthan Royals' documentary 'Inside Story' produced by Red Bull Media House, which showcases the team's 2019 IPL campaign. By his own admission, it has been 'surreal' for him to gain so many eyeballs at such a young age.
"It's been a great association so far with energy drink giant, Red Bull. It is a surreal feeling that a big brand like Red Bull was continuously following me during the IPL," Parag said.
"The brand has helped me a lot with the videos and interviews during the IPL and I hope they continue to back me in the future as well. Red Bull has constantly looked to give wings to young and upcoming cricketers through Red Bull Campus Cricket.
"Episode 2 of the documentary reveals how the Rajasthan Royals management sees hope in the partnership with Red Bull Campus Cricket as they look to unearth India's next cricket superstar," he added.