Cricket
Mon, 5 Apr 2021

Read how Riyan Parag became an avid Counter-Strike and Valorant player during COVID-19 lockdown last year

As the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to begin from April 9, youngster Riyan Parag is gearing up to show the world his skills as well. Meanwhile, lack of game time due to the global pandemic COVID-19 restrictions last year gave him enough time to develop his other passion--gaming. The youngest half-centurion in the IPL (17 years and 175 days, 2019 season) has his YouTube channel with over 13,000 followers where he regularly streams his live gaming videos during his many sessions of Counter-Strike and Valorant.

“I play with the top gamers in India. I take it seriously. You can find me sulking if I lose. But I am not as good as them, so I haven’t thought of taking e-sports professionally yet. For that I need to play as long as I used to do in quarantine,” Parag says.

However, his game time has reduced to four hours a day, because he is soon going to be busy with IPL. He has a few notable knocks in the pink jersey, where he was part of a stunning 85* run stand for the sixth-wicket with Rahul Tewatia at the 2020 IPL, which helped Rajasthan Royals break a four-match losing streak. However, his unbeaten 42 off 26 balls was the highest score last season and his only significant contribution as well

“My job in RR is to basically finish off games. While that one match was good, I could not perform to my potential in the other matches. I hope to gain more consistency this year. I have prepped well with a good Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy for Assam,” Parag says.

He was in good form during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, where Parag managed to score 261 runs in five matches which came at an average of 87.00 and strike rate of 141.84. Even, he was the only middle-order batsman from his team to score more than 120 in the tournament.

“I generally bat at No. 4 or 5 for Assam. It’s mostly the same in RR as well. It’s the hardest position to bat. Either you have to curtail your natural instinct and play cautiously to take your team out of danger or you are in the 18th over and expected to smack every ball to the boundary. You have to pay out of your skin. Doing that consistently under pressure is what I am trying to achieve this season. Mostly, I think it’s about qualifying for the playoffs. Last year we know we were last but then if you can imagine ourselves winning a game or two, we could have qualified. It’s a very tough competition. My main goal for this year is to contribute more to the team and qualify for the knockouts,” he says.

It is also noteworthy that, Parag was a part of the 2018 U-19 World Cup that India won under Prithvi Shaw. And, from his team, Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw are already playing for India. He shared that seeing Prithvi, Shubman, even Ishan Kishan or Surya Kumar Yadav gives him a lot of motivation. They motivate him to perform more consistently in the cash-rich league and hopefully break into the national team as well.

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