17-year-old Riyan Parag credited Steve Smith’s on-field guidance after the duo came up with a match-winning stand for Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 match against Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Saturday. RR vs MI – Report | Highlights
Riyan Parag, playing only his second IPL match, came out all guns blazing in Rajasthan Royals’ chase of 162 on a two-paced wicket.
Parag, who represented India at the U-19 World Cup in 2018, hit a 29-ball 43 and stitched a 69-run stand with his captain Steve Smith that took the game away from Mumbai Indians. Parag played with the confidence of a seasoned campaigner and took on some of the best Mumbai bowlers, including Rahul Chahar and Lasith Malinga.
Stressing it was a dream-come-true for him to play with Steve Smith whom he had watched on television sets a couple of years ago, Parag said: “
“Yes, of course. Steve Smith made it really easy for me. He was like just ‘think you are batting with a friend when you play gully cricket just think like that’. I just thought like that and I played my game,” Parag said.
“Some of the players I just see on the TV, just for the fact, Steve Smith, I have admired him for so long now and to share the crease with him was just exceptional,” Parag told Star Sports after Mumbai’s five-wicket win over Rajasthan.
Parag, who has hit the second-fastest half-century behind Virat Kohli in youth Tests, has been a consistent performer at the age-group level for India in the recent past. Parag made his IPL debut against the Chennai Super Kings on April 11 and impressed with a 14-ball 16.
On Saturday, Parag, who can bowl handy leg-spin, seemingly took control of the match-winning stand with Steve Smith, who has heaped rich praise on the teenager.
Speaking after winning the Man of the Match award for his 48-ball 59, Steve Smith said Parag is going to have a great cricketing future.
“Parag was really impressive; I have been watching him in the nets and with the bat looks like a seasoned campaigner. He’s a great kid and has a great future, I hope I was as confident when I was 17,” Smith said.