The 22-year-old turned the attention of many with his bright performances for the Blues in the AFC Cup last season.
Khel Now takes a look at Bengaluru FC’s promising young defender Parag Shrivas, a hardworking all-rounder, who has risen through the ranks at the developmental side and earned himself a few starts with the first team.
Known for his versatility on the pitch, Parag Shrivas operates primarily on the left flank as a full back, but can play along the left flank as a winger too and has also performed exceptionally as a striker. He is a prominent name in the Bengaluru FC B team and was also named the BFC B Player of the Year in 2019 for his impressive performances with the side.
In 2013, Parag was one among five kids who were selected in Bajaj Allianz Football Camp to travel to Germany for a five-day football camp as well as an opportunity to play at the Allianz Arena, home of German giants Bayern Munich.
Despite being dubbed as a defender, Parag had 17 goal involvements including nine goals and eight assists in 21 appearances in 2019 for BFC B. He was drafted into the senior squad following his brilliant performances with the youth side but tough competition in the first team hindered his chances of making it to the starting XI early on.
Parag then went on to make his first start in the AFC Cup when Bengaluru FC faced Bhutan-based Paro FC. He put in a fine display on the left flank and was solid in defence as well. Moreover, he was handed his first start in the ISL against ATK and fared well there too. He was given an extended run in the AFC Cup match against Maziya and the defender performed brilliantly in all the games.
Date of Birth: 9 June 1997
Height: 180 cm
Parag made his debut for the senior side in the final league match against Jamshedpur FC in Bengaluru FC’s 2018-19 campaign. The defender was one of the many players who was handed their respective debuts to feature in the first team as the last league match had no effect on the Blues’ eventual title-winning campaign.
The youngster came off the bench to replace Ajay Chhetri while the Blues were already down 4-1. He ended the night with a 37-minute cameo on the pitch as the Blues went down 5-1.
Parag Shrivas often defends with a solid confidence in air. He is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and would never think twice to put his body on the line for the team. His stature helps cover a lot of ground as opposed to other defenders of his age and his strength is an added advantage while going into duels with the opposition.
Further, his attacking intent is a great quality for a budding full-back and helps create chances in the final third. He bagged an assist in his first start in the ISL and played the whole of 90 minutes without committing a single foul despite playing against some top quality players from the ATK side.
Parag stepped up to take a penalty for the Blues as the shootouts went into ‘sudden death’ against Maziya S&RC in the AFC Cup. The outcome of his shot was unfortunate, but the fact that he willingly stepped up to take the all-important penalty ahead of other senior players in the squad speaks volumes of his confidence in his skill and commitment to the game.
Aspects To Improve
The defender was sidelined with an injury and has worked well to impress the coach and return to the big stage to get a few starts last season. However, there is still a lot for the youngster to work on and improve to make a bigger impact in the first team.
Parag’s passing against ATK wasn’t of the greatest quality and the defender seemed to allow the attackers freedom to move into spaces. Better decision making in defense and consistent passing and movement into the attacking half would certainly transform the youngster’s gameplay to a higher level.
While there exist cases of strikers being turned into makeshift full-backs, there are hardly a few who excel in both roles and Parag is one such player which makes him a bit different from the rest. The player seems to have the right mix of both attack and defence working out well for him which could prove to be a great asset to have in the team.
There are very few top players with whom the youngster could be compared to, given the fact that he hasn’t fully reached his potential or isn’t playing a particularly prominent role on the pitch. Parag Shrivas could work himself to be a player like Ashley Cole, another defender who could not be recalled as the best in attack or defence but the best of both worlds put together.
The 22-year-old former Pune FC Academy product could prove to be a hot prospect as most teams are in search of a player of his quality. Prabir Das, another player with similar qualities made heads turn with his fine display this season and Parag could possibly follow suit as the country is on the lookout for more players like him. Bengaluru FC have had a history with players who work well and adapt to different roles and Parag Shrivas seems to be the right fit for the Blues.