Riyan Parag hits out at his critics

Young batsman Riyan Parag has earned his maiden call-up to the Indian national team for the upcoming five-match T20I series against Zimbabwe. This selection marks a significant turnaround for Parag, who has silenced his critics with a stellar performance in IPL 2024.

Parag shot to fame after starring in India’s victorious U19 World Cup campaign in 2018. This led to him being picked up by the Rajasthan Royals, where he initially impressed. However, the following four seasons proved challenging for the youngster as he struggled to maintain consistency. This dip in form resulted in immense public scrutiny and criticism.

However, Parag persevered. He bounced back in spectacular fashion during IPL 2024, emerging as one of the league’s leading run-scorers. His explosive batting, which included 573 runs at an average of 52.09 and a strike rate of 149.21, silenced his doubters and earned him a much-deserved national call-up.

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Parag addressed the criticism he faced during his lean patch. “It was tough, but I had a self-reflection. The criticism felt undeserved at times. There were areas where I might have lacked experience or preparation, but my effort was never in question,” he said.

Parag acknowledged the fickle nature of public opinion, stating, “People will criticize or praise regardless. Last year, they questioned my IPL ability, and now they want me in the national team. Opinions can flip on a dime.”

He also spoke about the impact of criticism on his mental well-being. “Millions watch the IPL, and underperformance is crushing. The negativity from fans and even respected figures adds to the burden. I had to identify what truly mattered and separate the noise. Focusing on my game reignited my passion for cricket,” he explained.

Parag’s story is a testament to resilience and self-belief. His remarkable comeback serves as an inspiration for young athletes facing similar challenges. With a place secured in the national squad, Parag will be looking to continue his impressive form and cement his position in the Indian T20I setup.

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