‘It was a cricketing decision’ - Kumar Sangakkara reflects on Riyan Parag’s new role in RR lineup

“We all felt that he has a much more important role that he can play for us. And the hard work that he did leading up to the season,” Sangakkara said.

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Riyan Parag and Kumar Sangakkara
Riyan Parag and Kumar Sangakkara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The IPL 2024 has gotten off to a brilliant start for the Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals. The side faced Lucknow Super Giants in their first game of the season and managed to register a comfortable victory. A complete team effort helped RR start their campaign on a winning note.

The stars of the show undoubtedly were Riyan Parag and skipper Sanju Samson, who played magnificent knocks in the first innings, helping the Royals post a target of 194 runs.

The standout star in the game was Riyan Parag. After a string of subpar seasons with the inaugural champions, the youngster scored 43 runs in 29 deliveries against Lucknow and made a statement on the biggest stage. The Assam all-rounder had a fantastic domestic season, where he even led the state side in tournaments like Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Ranji Trophy.

Parag's performances certainly impressed Rajasthan Royals’ head coach, Kumar Sangakkara. The former Sri Lanka cricketer came forward to talk about how Parag moving up the order was necessary for him to showcase his skills and how he felt that he could be more important to the team.

“It was a cricketing decision; we looked at how he has performed over the years. It's a very difficult thing for someone like Riyan, who has an overall game, just to always only get the toughest parts of the game where he has to come in and up the run rate at the death,” Kumar Sangakkara was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“We all felt that he has a much more important role that he can play for us. And the hard work that he did, leading up to the season—all the runs he scored in domestic cricket—all played a part in that decision,” he added.

The biggest thing we've seen in Riyan is maturity: Sangakkara

It is worth noting that Riyan Parag played the role in Royals, which is much similar to the role he plays for Assam in domestic cricket. At the Deodhar Trophy, the inter-zonal 50-over tournament, he was the highest run-getter, highest six-hitter, and third-highest (joint) wicket-taker. He was even named the Player of the Tournament.

According to Sangakkara, Parag’s performance against Lucknow and in domestic cricket shows how much the youngster has matured over time.

“The biggest thing we've seen in Riyan is maturity. Irrespective of the support we offer players, self-awareness of your game, knowing what is good for you, how your lifestyle is both on and off the field—all of that has changed in Riyan,” Sangakkara said.

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