Riyan Parag plays for a franchise with an Assamese as its Chairperson. Is this the only reason Parag continues to feature in every RR game? Just look at it- being an all-rounder, he rarely bowls, and whenever he bats, apart from his attitude, nothing else is on show.
As a kid, I also wanted to be a cricketer and dreamt of playing cricket for India someday. But when my parents "encouraged" me by telling me that no player from Assam has ever played for the country and things won't change as there are a lot of politics involved, I dropped the idea of being a cricketer.
Time passed, and I witnessed and felt the reality of my parents' words told decades back. To my knowledge, the only two players who went closer to receiving a team India call were Niren Sharma in 1992 and Abu Nachim Ahmed in 2008/09.
Sharma, touted as the fastest Indian bowler of his time, was called for India nets in New Delhi in 1992. But for mysterious reasons, he did not show up at the net, and it was the end of his fast bowling career.
On the other hand, Abu played IPL for Mumbai Indians, and he came to everyone's notice when he scalped Jacques Kallis in the mega tournament in South Africa in 2009. But that was the only moment of glory in his cricketing career. With a string of flop shows and inconsistent performances, Abu was shown the doors.
When Abu was playing for the MIs, I was hopeful that he would play for India someday. But...all my hopes came crashing.
"True, no one from Assam will ever play for India" I have been telling this to myself every day ever since Abu departed from the IPL until Rajasthan Royals picked up a young Riyan Parag.
"Parag is a rare talent" is what every cricket expert commented on his selection, something which is often repeated on air when he takes the field.
He has played a few memorable knocks for Assam in Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and others. But when it has come to the IPL, we all have been waiting to witness his talent. Seeing his "show of rare talent" at the IPL, I only ask myself, what is the use of such talent when there is no show?
And rare talent? Is he a rare talent? If yes, then how?
Okay, in his 50+ IPL innings, apart from a few noteworthy performances, Parag has not shown us any glimpse of his "rare talent". (I hope his Bihu dancing skills are not counted as one cricketing talent.)
There are far better players than him who are waiting to be drafted in the IPL and come to the notice of some franchise. And some "rare talents" like Parag, when they got the chance to play for an IPL team, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and today they are seen as future Indian stars.
When the Mumbai Indians selected Arjun Tendulkar, many people came out against his selection, saying, "Tendulkar is a product of nepotism". But when I see Parag playing and flopping every time for RR, I ask myself- is Riyan Parag IPL's first nepo kid?
Riyan Parag plays for a franchise with an Assamese as its Chairperson. Is this the only reason Parag continues to feature in every RR game? Just look at it- being an all-rounder, he rarely bowls, and whenever he bats, apart from his attitude, nothing else is on show. Perhaps, it is because of the Chairperson's "aura" and "dominance" players like Joe Root are being continuously benched, making way for Parag!
When he had scored fifty a couple of seasons back to become the youngest player (then) to score an IPL 50, in an article, I wrote about why it was important for him to tame his attitude and stay grounded. As attitude can build and it can destroy. In Parag's case, it is the second case happening.
Anyway, I hope he lives up to his reputation of being a "rare talent" and starts delivering- both with the bat and the bowl and not just on Twitter where he is "hitting 4 6s in an over".
Partha Prawal (Goswami) is a Guwahati-based journalist who loves to write about entertainment, sports, and social and civic issues among others. He is also a published author.