Steve Smith might be one of the most unorthodox batsmen in the world right now but it has not stopped young Riyan Parag from following the Australia star’s batting style. The highly-rated batsman, who plays with Steve Smith for Rajasthan Royals, took a sneak peek into the world number one Test batsman’s unorthodox technique during the last IPL.
The right-handed batsman from Assam became an overnight sensation in the last season of the IPL. After he helped India win the ICC U19 World Cup in 2018, Rajasthan Royals secured his services for INR 20 lakh at the auction. He went on to justify the faith shown in him by the franchise and was one of the finds of the last IPL.
He first hogged the limelight after scoring a calm and composed 43 off 29 in a chase against Mumbai Indians. Such was his performance that Steve Smith tipped the teenager for a bright future. He then impressed by registering scores of 47 and 50 against Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals respectively. The fifty against Delhi made him the youngest half-centurion in the IPL.
Overall, he scored 160 runs at an average of 32. He also picked up a couple of wickets. Riyan Parag was one of the very few positives for the Royals in an otherwise dismal season. Riyan Parag also used the opportunity to learn a thing or two from Smith which helped the teenager while playing Ranji Trophy.
“Of course, I have had lot of chats with both Steve and Jos Buttler. They helped me a lot during IPL. When you are batting with someone of Smith’s calibre and 30,000 people are watching you, it gets a bit tough. He would advise me to be calm and not think about the pressure,” Riyan Parag told PTI.
He further said that he learned some valuable tips from Smith about how to leave the ball. The tips helped him in the Ranji season where he ended with 492 runs for Assam, including a hundred and three half-centuries. He also snared 12 wickets with his handy off-breaks.
“I love the way Steve leaves the ball. You don’t just go by the looks of it but you’ve got to think why does he leave the ball like that. What is the reason? The bat is hanging out and body and legs are in sync, you see that not many players can leave the ball with their body. It’s a diffcult art that he has mastered. Luckily, I have imbibed some of it in my Ranji season after talking to him,” said Riyan Parag.
When asked about the tips he received from the Australia batting mainstay, Riyan Parag said:
“It’s just not the bat (shouldering arms). He covers all the stumps while leaving the ball. That was an education for me as he told me how he does it. I tried copying him and tried leaving balls on the off-stump channel with all stumps covered.Steve told me that more I cover the ball with the body and leave it, the bowler will be forced to bowl a few on the pads which is the strength of any batsman. Then he can score runs.”