Riyan Parag joined the Rajasthan Royals’ set-up in 2019 at the age of 17. He is just 22 years old now but his knock against Lucknow Super Giants in the latest Indian Premier League opener proved why he was always considered one of the biggest potentials in the squad.

Against LSG, Riyan Parag, who usually took on the role of a finisher in the previous seasons, was promoted to No. 4 in the match. He delivered on the promise by playing a sensible knock of 43 runs in 29 balls and helped the Royals post a match-winning 193 on board. 

“The biggest change (for this season) we have seen in Riyan is the maturity,” Kumar Sangakkara, Rajasthan Royals’ Director of Cricket and Head Coach, said ahead of the team’s home game against the Delhi Capitals. 

“He is still a very young cricketer, we should not forget that. He’s also been hugely in the focus over the years as one of the faces of our younger brigade.” 

The Sri Lankan legend explained that the team took into account how Parag has performed over the years. 

“It is very difficult for someone like Riyan, who has an overall game, just to always get the toughest parts of the game where he has to come in and up the run rate,” Sangakkara said. “We all felt that he had a much more important role that he could play for us. 

“The hard work he has done leading into this season with all the runs he has scored in domestic cricket. All of it played a part in making that decision,” he reasoned.

Sangakkara added that like all players, Riyan will need to reciprocate the trust placed in him. 

“He is off to a great start. He just needs to make sure that he keeps reading the game well and keeps trusting what he can do at No. 4. He is good at playing pace and spin so ideally he is well-suited for that position… Taking on more responsibility is non-negotiable for him.”

Kumar Sangakkara also added that seeing Yashasvi Jaiswal and Dhruv Jurel succeed on the international stage has fueled Riyan Parag’s ambition to perform. 

“He’s also seeing Jaiswal and Jurel and he’s got the hunger now and an example to follow into that international side as well. Players have a variety of ambitions and the IPL is just one of them… He understands that how he performs here (in the IPL) will lead to it (international platform).”

Rajasthan Royals will take on Delhi Capitals in their second home game in IPL 2024 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday.