Riyan Parag's Transformation: From Social Media Star to Indian Cricket Contender

Riyan Parag’s Transformation: From Social Media Star to Indian Cricket Contender

Riyan Parag’s meteoric rise in the Indian cricket scene has been a testament to the transformative power of mentorship and self-belief. Initially known for his outspoken nature on social media, Parag’s career took a decisive turn after a pivotal conversation with Virat Kohli.

Kohli’s guidance, spanning a mere 10-15 minutes, instilled in Parag a renewed approach to the game. The young cricketer, who had previously faced criticism for his candid communication style, emerged as a formidable contender for a spot in the Indian team.

Parag’s impressive performances in the ongoing IPL season, where he ranks third in the list of highest run-scorers, are a testament to his newfound maturity. He credits Kohli’s advice for helping him overcome a challenging phase in his career.

“He gave me a good 10-15 minutes of his time and shared a few things with me, I think that really helped me,” Parag said.

Beyond Kohli, Parag has also drawn inspiration from Rahul Dravid, another cricketing legend. Dravid’s guidance extended beyond the technical aspects of the game, encompassing conduct, social media presence, and overall presentation.

Parag’s maiden IPL season in 2019 was a surreal experience, particularly his encounter with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “Playing against CSK, going in to bat, with Dhoni behind the wicket, was a surreal moment for sure,” he recalled.

Parag’s versatility as an all-rounder has been a key factor in his success. He relishes the role of batting in the middle order, contributing with a few overs, and excelling in the field.

Currently training under Rajasthan Royals’ director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara, Parag appreciates the coach’s hands-off approach. “He lets players do everything. I know he’s got his tactics behind all the noise, but he lets his players express themselves,” Parag said.

Regarding social media criticism, Parag maintains a simple approach. “I keep it very simple. If I have an opinion on something, I share it on social media. But I am not waiting for people in my social media to have their opinions, and then going through their opinions. I share my opinion and say what I want to say, but that’s it.”

Parag’s journey serves as an inspiration for young cricketers, demonstrating the importance of mentorship, self-belief, and a willingness to learn from the best.

Rohit Sharma Debunks Rumors of T20 World Cup Meeting

Rohit Sharma Debunks Rumors of T20 World Cup Meeting

India’s cricket fraternity has been abuzz with speculation regarding a purported meeting between captain Rohit Sharma, BCCI chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar, and head coach Rahul Dravid to discuss India’s strategy for the upcoming T20 World Cup. However, Rohit Sharma has swiftly dismissed these claims as “fake” in an interview on the Club Prairie Fire podcast with Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist.

“I haven’t met anyone,” Rohit clarified. “Ajit Agarkar is somewhere in Dubai playing golf and Rahul Dravid is actually watching his kids play in Bengaluru… We haven’t met, to be honest.”

Rohit emphasized the importance of relying on credible sources and cautioned against believing unverified reports. “In today’s day and age, unless you hear it from either myself or Rahul himself or Ajit himself or someone from BCCI coming and talking in front of the camera, everything is fake.”

Despite the denials, the speculation surrounding India’s T20 World Cup squad continues to intensify. One of the key talking points has been the potential inclusion of wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, whose remarkable comeback from a car accident in December 2022 has sparked discussions about his selection.

Pant has amassed 194 runs in six matches since his return, maintaining a strike rate of 157.72. Former England pacer Stuart Broad has been a vocal advocate for his inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup squad, citing a particular shot played by Pant against Kolkata Knight Riders as evidence of his exceptional talent.

With the BCCI set to unveil India’s T20 World Cup squad in the first week of May, every IPL fixture gains heightened significance as players vie for limited spots. The tournament serves as a critical platform for players to showcase their skills and stake their claim for a place in the national team, amidst a backdrop of intense scrutiny and speculation.

Shreyas Iyer's Ranji Trophy Heroics Reignite Comeback Hopes

Shreyas Iyer’s Ranji Trophy Heroics Reignite Comeback Hopes

Shreyas Iyer’s impressive performance in the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha has reignited hopes of a strong comeback for the talented batter. Despite recent setbacks, including his omission from the BCCI’s central contracts list and a disappointing Ranji Trophy campaign for Mumbai, Iyer showcased his resilience and determination on Tuesday.

With Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma in attendance, Iyer played a crucial role in Mumbai’s innings, scoring a gritty 95 off 111 balls. His celebration, which went viral on social media, reflected his relief and satisfaction at finding form at a critical juncture.

Iyer’s performance has prompted Indian cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid to address the issue of his and Ishan Kishan’s absence from the central contracts. Dravid emphasized that both players remain in contention for selection, stating, “They are always in the mix. Everyone who is playing cricket and domestic cricket is in the mix.”

Dravid clarified that the decision-making process for central contracts lies with the BCCI and selectors, not the coaching staff. He added, “I don’t even know what the criteria is. People ask my opinion on the 15, me and Rohit pick the XI. We never discuss whether a player has a contract or not, whether he is going to be picked.”

Dravid’s comments suggest that Iyer and Kishan’s omission from the central contracts does not necessarily reflect their current form or potential. He urged them to regain fitness, perform consistently, and force the selectors to reconsider their decisions.

Iyer’s performance in the Ranji Trophy final is a testament to his ability to bounce back from adversity. With the Indian Premier League (IPL) season approaching, he will have another opportunity to showcase his skills and prove his worth to the national selectors.

Dravid Explains Kuldeep Yadav's Inclusion, Praises Young Talent

Dravid Explains Kuldeep Yadav’s Inclusion, Praises Young Talent

Indian cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid has shed light on the decision to include Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI for the second Test against England, despite the absence of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Dravid explained that the team’s focus on taking all 20 wickets prompted them to opt for a specialist spinner over an all-rounder.

“When I saw Axar batting at No. 6, I remember looking at Vikram (Rathour) and thinking, ‘Jeez, VVS (Laxman) used to walk out at that position’,” Dravid said. “With due respect to Axar, he is a lovely player, but that’s the bottom line of what me and Rohit have always spoken about. That’s what wins you Tests… being able to take 20 wickets as quickly as possible.”

Dravid praised the team’s young talent for stepping up in the absence of senior players like Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. “It does make you feel really proud and happy for the way the team’s evolved, the team’s grown and just happy for the boys,” he said.

Despite losing the first Test, India bounced back to clinch the series 4-1, showcasing the depth and resilience of the team. Dravid’s decision to prioritize wicket-taking over all-round balance proved to be a winning formula, as Kuldeep Yadav played a crucial role in the team’s success.

The inclusion of Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI highlights the team’s commitment to attacking bowling and their belief in the importance of taking wickets. Dravid’s decision to prioritize wicket-taking over all-round balance has paid off, as India has emerged victorious in the Test series against England.

Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Schedule to Address Player Concerns

Dravid Calls for Review of Domestic Cricket Schedule to Address Player Concerns

Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, has called for a comprehensive review of domestic cricket in India, particularly the Ranji Trophy. Dravid’s comments come in response to concerns raised by players, including Shardul Thakur, about the demanding schedule and its impact on player recovery.

The Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class cricket tournament, has been criticized for its relentless schedule, with only three-day breaks between matches. This has led to concerns about player injuries and burnout. Dravid acknowledged these concerns, emphasizing the need to listen to the players’ perspectives.

“We need to hear the players. They are the ones going through the grind and putting their bodies on the line,” Dravid said. “If there are enough voices saying that, then yeah, I think there’s some need to look at it, and see how we can manage our schedules.”

Dravid also highlighted the issue of top players being unavailable for their domestic teams due to clashes with India A tours. This has deprived state teams of their best players, further exacerbating the challenges of the demanding schedule.

“Your best players, the guys who are pushing for selection for India, are the ones that end up playing the most cricket,” Dravid said. “They are the ones who end up playing a lot of cricket, and you also want them to be playing for India and India A tours. So it can get quite tough on a lot of those boys.”

Dravid suggested that a comprehensive review involving coaches and players is necessary to address these issues. He questioned the necessity of certain tournaments and emphasized the need to prioritize player well-being.

“Maybe we need to relook and see whether some of the tournaments that we are conducting are necessary in this day and age or they are not necessary,” Dravid said. “There needs to be an all-round review [involving] coaches and players, especially the guys who are part of the domestic circuit.”

Dravid Urges Iyer, Kishan to Prioritize Domestic Cricket for National Team Return

Dravid Urges Iyer, Kishan to Prioritize Domestic Cricket for National Team Return

India head coach Rahul Dravid has urged Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan to prioritize domestic cricket to regain their places in the national team. Both players have been under scrutiny for opting out of domestic cricket in recent months.

Dravid emphasized that playing domestic cricket is crucial for players to showcase their skills and force the selectors to consider them. He stated that contracts and selections are not his responsibility but that he values players who demonstrate commitment to domestic cricket.

Kishan has not played any BCCI-sanctioned cricket since opting out of the South Africa Test series, while Iyer missed the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals due to back spasms. However, Iyer has since returned to play for Mumbai in the semi-finals and is expected to feature in the final.

Dravid acknowledged that both players remain in contention for selection but stressed the importance of them performing well in domestic cricket. He highlighted that there are numerous examples of players who have been selected despite not having contracts.

The BCCI recently announced a Test Cricket Incentive Scheme that will increase match fees for players who feature in over 75% of Tests played in a season. Dravid emphasized that this scheme should be viewed as a reward for hard work rather than a financial incentive.

He praised the challenges and rewards of Test cricket, noting that it requires special qualities to succeed in the format. Dravid expressed hope that the recognition and support for Test cricket will continue to attract players to the format.

Rohit Sharma's Leadership Praised by Rahul Dravid as India Neutralizes 'Bazball'

Rohit Sharma’s Leadership Praised by Rahul Dravid as India Neutralizes ‘Bazball’

India’s head coach Rahul Dravid has praised Rohit Sharma’s leadership style, which he believes has fostered a positive and supportive environment within the team. Under Rohit’s captaincy, India has quietly and effectively neutralized England’s aggressive ‘Bazball’ strategy, securing a convincing 4-1 victory in the five-match Test series.

Dravid highlighted the team’s ability to adapt and overcome challenges, particularly the return of Ravichandran Ashwin from a personal emergency. Ashwin’s willingness to contribute despite his personal circumstances showcased the character and resilience of the team.

Despite speculation about the exclusion of players like Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the Indian team, Dravid emphasized that no one is out of contention. He acknowledged the importance of player selection and the need to consider the team’s overall balance.

Dravid also commended the improvement of Kuldeep Yadav, who has emerged as a valuable asset with his left-arm wrist spin and batting contributions. The coach recognized the challenges Yadav has faced in competing with established players like Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

In response to concerns raised by all-rounder Shardul Thakur about the hectic Ranji Trophy schedule, Dravid emphasized the need to listen to player feedback and consider ways to manage the domestic schedule more effectively.

Dravid’s comments reflect his belief in the importance of leadership, teamwork, and player development. He has fostered a culture where players feel valued and supported, which has contributed to India’s recent success on the field.

Rohit Sharma Declares He's Playing Best Cricket of His Life, Vows to Retire When He's Not Good Enough

Rohit Sharma Declares He’s Playing Best Cricket of His Life, Vows to Retire When He’s Not Good Enough

Rohit Sharma: Playing the Best Cricket of His Life, Says He’ll Retire When He’s Not Good Enough

Former England batter Geoffrey Boycott may have suggested that Rohit Sharma is past his prime, but the Indian skipper has emphatically declared that he is currently playing the best cricket of his life.

Leading his team in the absence of stalwarts Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, Rohit guided India to a dominant 4-1 victory in the five-match Test series against England. In the decisive Dharamsala Test, India inflicted an innings and 64 runs defeat on the visitors, wrapping up the match within three days.

Reflecting on his own performance, Rohit asserted that he will not hesitate to retire the day he feels he is no longer up to the mark. “One day, when I wake up and feel, I am not good enough then I will retire straight away,” he said. “But in the last few years, I am playing the best cricket of my life.”

Head coach Rahul Dravid echoed Rohit’s sentiments, praising the skipper’s exceptional leadership and ability to bail the team out of difficult situations. “Rohit Sharma has been exceptional in this series,” Dravid said. “In Rajkot, when we were 3 down inside the first hour, we needed someone to get us that hundred. In Ranchi also, he batted amazingly.”

Rohit also highlighted the importance of nurturing young players, especially in the absence of senior stars. “When you win a Test, everything has to fall into place,” he said. “Lot of things we did right through the match. [Absent stars] At some stage, people are going to go, we know that. All these guys are short on experience but they’ve played a lot of cricket. We have got to nurture them and make them understand the game.”

“When put under pressure, they responded pretty well,” Rohit added. “Credit goes to the entire team for that. We talk about scoring runs, but it is as important to take 20 wickets to win the Test match. Everyone, all the bowlers came and responded. They wanted to make a difference with the ball in hand.”

India's Selectors Praised for Bold Decisions in Series Victory

India’s Selectors Praised for Bold Decisions in Series Victory

India’s coach Rahul Dravid has lauded the selectors for their bold decisions in selecting young players, which played a crucial role in India’s 4-1 series victory over Australia. Despite missing several key players due to injuries and workload management, India managed to field five debutants, the joint-highest number after their inaugural series.

Dravid acknowledged the selectors’ efforts in identifying and pushing for these young talents. “They’ve pushed us and challenged us to pick some of these young players, and they’ve picked the right ones,” he said. “They’ve come out here and performed.”

One of the standout selections was wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, who had only 15 first-class matches under his belt. In Pant’s absence, Jurel played a pivotal role in preventing India from falling behind in Ranchi, earning him the Player-of-the-Match award.

Other young players who stepped up included Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kuldeep Yadav. Jaiswal, with four Tests prior to the series, became only the second Indian batter to score 700 or more in a series. Kuldeep, with eight caps, became the fastest Indian bowler and the second-fastest spinner overall to reach 50 Test wickets.

Rohit Sharma, India’s captain, praised Jaiswal’s aggressive approach and Kuldeep’s resilience. “He’s got something about him, which we all need to be happy about,” Rohit said of Kuldeep. “He has worked hard at NCA and is putting a lot of body into the ball.”

Rohit also acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead for Jaiswal. “He has come a long way to where he is right now,” Rohit said. “So obviously he will understand what he needs to do individually and then what the team expects from him as well.”

Dravid’s praise for the selectors highlights the importance of identifying and nurturing young talent. By giving these players opportunities, India has ensured a strong foundation for the future.

Padikkal's Debut Fifty Inspires India in Dharamshala Test

Padikkal’s Debut Fifty Inspires India in Dharamshala Test

Devdutt Padikkal, the elegant southpaw, made a memorable debut in the ongoing fifth Test against England at Dharamshala. After receiving his India cap from veteran Ravi Ashwin, Padikkal revealed the invaluable advice he received from head coach Rahul Dravid.

Dravid’s words of encouragement, “In the first 10-15 minutes you will have nerves, but go out and enjoy it,” helped Padikkal overcome his initial jitters and construct a composed debut fifty. The Karnataka batter stroked a fine 65 off 103 deliveries, showcasing his lazy elegance and impressive technique.

Padikkal’s partnership with Sarfaraz Khan (97 runs) steadied the Indian innings after the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma and Shubhman Gill. Despite some lucky edges, Padikkal displayed a calm demeanor and grew in confidence with each boundary he scored.

Reflecting on his debut experience, Padikkal admitted to feeling nervous initially but emphasized the importance of using that energy positively. He praised the support of familiar faces in the dressing room and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to represent India.

However, England fought back in the final session, with Somerset off-spinner Shoaib Bashir claiming four wickets. Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah steadied the ship for India, ensuring the hosts ended the day on 428/8.

Padikkal’s debut performance has earned him widespread praise, with pundits and fans alike impressed by his composure and skill. The 21-year-old has shown that he has the potential to become a mainstay in the Indian Test team for years to come.

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