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Life outside cricket affects you: Riyan Parag on criticism

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Kolkata, April 15: Facing relentless trolling isn’t easy, especially when you have barely crossed teens but Riyan Parag’s cricketing journey hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses in that sense.
After only 600 runs from 54 matches across previous seasons that invited merciless criticism, heavy duty trolling and meme-fest on social media, Riyan 2.0 has burst onto the IPL 2024, with renewed vigour that has so far yielded 284 runs. He is only second to Virat Kohli in run aggregator’s list.
There aren’t over-the-top celebrations, his only statements have come through his willow and finally he understood how to deal with life beyond 22 yards.
“Life on the outside of cricket really affects you. And that’s one big major part which has played in my career is how I deal with it,” Riyan said ahead of Rajasthan Royals’s IPL game against KKR here on Tuesday.
He has never had an average of more than 17 in his previous seasons and his best ever return with the bat was in his maiden year, when he aggregated 160 from seven outings at 32.00.
“It didn’t really start out well, I took a lot of things to heart, that were being said about me, etc, whatever it was. I just had to figure out what mattered to me, whose opinions mattered to me, and I figured that out eventually And that has helped,” said Riyan, who during last year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament after scoring a half-century against Bengal, had made a celebratory gesture that he is cut above everyone. He faced a lot of criticism, at times rightly so, for his on-field antics. More so, because performances weren’t coming through.
But under Zubin Bharucha’s guidance at the Royals Academy in Talegaon, things changed as he worked hard on his game, fitness and results showed in every domestic tournament this year.
His name is doing rounds as a possible contender in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies but realistically, it’s the tour of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, where he has more realistic chance of making the cut.
“I”m not really thinking about it (World Cup) to be very honest. If you told me last year I’d be in this position, I would not believe you,” Riyan said.
“So I’m just really glad to be doing what I am doing, and I just want to continue that. I want to take it one game at a time, and focus on how I can win more matches for the team, because that’s more important.” (PTI)

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