Despite being in good form in domestic cricket, Rajasthan Royals youngster Riyan Parag was once again left disappointed as he was left waiting for his maiden India call-up. Since making his IPL debut in 2019, Parag has become a polarising figure among Indian cricket fans. Some believe that he has the potential to become a future superstar, while some believe that he hasn’t justified his hype yet.

Zaheer Khan used Suryakumar Yadav as an example for a young Indian cricketer.(File/Reuters)

The 22-year-old was recently in good form at the 2023-24 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he became the highest run-scorer and highest six-hitter with 510 runs and 40 sixes respectively. There were rumours earlier that he could be selected in the Indian team for the Australia T20I series or South Africa tour, but he failed to make the cut.

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Speaking on Cricbuzz, India legend Zaheer Khan was given the task to answer a fan’s question about Parag’s exclusion. The former player used Suryakumar Yadav as an example and had some advice for the 2018 U-19 World Cup winner.

“The classic example is Suryakumar Yadav. You know, you go back to say five years. So Riyan Parag has had a great year, he’s played a lot of good innings, he has scored a lot of runs. This is one season,” he said.

“You look at the Indian team right now, the options, the slots and the people waiting, that queue is also quite long.

“As a player I think you know what one needs to focus on, which is things which are in your hand, which is performance. You have to keep on putting these numbers year after year. You don’t have to go that far. I think Surya is the right example right now for everyone to just talk about. Before he made his debut, if you just go back to his four years, he was so consistent with putting runs year after year that there came a point where they were saying now you can’t ignore this guy because he is just ready, he is doing it year after year. Just because he has been so consistent, he deserves a spot,” he further added.

A main negative in Parag’s career graph has been his inconsistent performances at the IPL, where he has gone hot-and-cold every season. But his performance in other tournaments has been different. In the 2023 Deodhar Trophy, he was adjudged as the Player of the Series for being the highest run-scorer and third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.