Riyan Parag, the captain of Assam, is enjoying an impressive outing at the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The left-handed batter currently leads the run-scoring chart at the tournament; he has amassed 490 runs in eight inning so far, with a stellar average of 122.50 and a strike rate of 139. What’s more, he also holds the lead for the highest number of sixes in the tournament, having cleared the boundary ropes 39 times so far. Additionally, he achieved a remarkable feat of seven-successive half-centuries, setting a new world record for most consecutive half-centuries in the shortest format of the game.
However, while Parag’s consistency has been nothing short of exceptional, he triggered a significant controversy during Assam’s group match against Bengal in the tournament. After reaching his fifty-run mark against Bengal – while also helping Assam secure a comprehensive 8-wicket victory in the game – Parag’s celebratory gesture hasn’t gone down well with the fans on social media.
He turned towards the pavilion, making a gesture that appeared to say, “I stand on a different level compared to the others.” Watch the celebration here:
Some speculate that Riyan’s celebratory gesture was a response to an earlier controversial comment made by one of the on-air commentators, Ashok Malhotra, who had referred to former Assam players as “second-class citizens” in the presence of Bengal players. However, it remains unclear how Riyan became aware of this comment on the field as the remark was made while the Assam captain was batting in the run-chase.
Here’s how fans reacted:
Malhotra did, however, apologise for his disparaging remark following the game. “I apologise profusely if I have hurt Assam people’s sentiments with my comments during the Assam v Bengal game last evening,” Malhotra said, as quoted by news agency PTI.
“I am sorry. It was totally unintentional and was trying to speak about their progress. I regret it and give an unconditional apology.”
Assam were powered by an all-round show by Parag, who had earlier returned with figures of 4-0-23-2 with the ball. Akash Sengupta’s 3/29 also played a part in restricting Bengal to a modest 138/8 in their 20 overs.
Invited to bat, a few Bengal batters got starts but failed to convert them into big knocks. Assam completed the chase in 17.5 overs for the loss of two wickets.