IPL sensation Riyan keeps his feet on the ground

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IPL sensation Riyan keeps his feet on the ground
Riyan Parag with father Parag Das and mother Mithoo Barooah in Guwahati on Tuesday. (Photo by Surajit Sharma)

Dubai - Riyan refuses to look too far ahead despite earning rave reviews for his ability to bat under pressure at such an young age

By Rituraj Borkakoty

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Published: Wed 8 May 2019, 10:25 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 May 2019, 7:07 PM

The cricketing world was taken aback by the maturity of a 17-year-old Riyan Parag - the youngest player to have hit a half-century in IPL history.
But Riyan's father Parag Das, a former Assam Ranji player, first saw the spark in his son when the former was only 16-month-old.

"When he saw me knock the ball at home, he would pick a tiny bat and start knocking. I instantly saw the cricketer in him," Das told Khaleej Times over phone.
Riyan's mother, Mithoo Barooah, a former swimmer who broke national records and represented India at the Asian Championships, put her son in the pool to see if he could swim as effortlessly as she once did.
"But Riyan would get out of the pool. Cricket was his only love," Das reminisced.
Now the son of two accomplished athletes left his mark on his debut IPL season for Rajasthan Royals, producing two match-winning knocks in nail-biting chases and making a half-century in a game that saw his experienced teammates fall like ninepins.
"It feels good now that I was able to handle pressure situation on such a big platform," Riyan told Khaleej Times.
"We had a nice group of players in our team and they always guided me. I think they taught me really well. Even Rahul (Dravid) Sir taught us how to handle pressure when I was playing in the Under 19 World Cup last year. That has helped me and I have gained more experience now in the IPL."
But it was Das who first taught Riyan the importance of finishing off matches.
"I told him he needed to study the wicket because sometimes chasing even 120 could be tough and sometimes even 200 might not be enough to defend. So I told him the importance of staying at the wicket. I have always tried to get it inside his head that there is a big difference between a normal batsman and match-finisher," Das said.
Now Riyan refuses to look too far ahead despite earning rave reviews for his ability to bat under pressure at such a young age.
"I have to perform consistently in first-class cricket for Assam now. That's the goal," he said.
"I have to keep playing well to get into the India A squad and then, hopefully, into Indian senior team. But now I just want to concentrate on domestic cricket," he added.
And Das, Riyan's first coach, has already identified the area his son needs to work on.
"I think he was outstanding in the IPL. I have nothing much to say. But he couldn't connect a few balls," he said.
"He will learn with experience because it's not every day that he gets to play such quality bowlers. He will overcome this when he plays more matches at the top level."

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