When the Impact Player rule was introduced ahead of the start of IPL 2023, one of the biggest talking points which emerged was the effect it will have on the value of all-rounders in the tournament.
Ahead of the tournament, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting had stated that the impact player rule will negate the role of all-rounders and bits-and-pieces players, something which was also echoed by Kolkata Knight Riders' batting all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer too.
So far, the impact player rule has been panning out on the lines Ponting had said as majority of teams have preferred to take the batter-bowler and bowler-batter swap. But former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha thinks the impact player rule won't take away anyone's value in teams.
"Not really, I feel everybody has a role to play. Impact player rule always adds value. It will never take away anybody else's value in the team. If you see, we will have all-rounders. But you will have a specialist coming in to either bat or bowl."
"So, this only enhances your team's value and in the long run, the way you use them will be very important. That is why how you choose your player is going to be very important," he said in a virtual interaction organised by JioCinema, where he's an IPL expert.
While calling the impact player rule brilliant, Ojha believes it has meant no team is out of contention from winning a game from any scenario. "Now teams have a lot of strategies to outsmart the other teams. At any given point, one cannot say that a team is out of the game because that impact player can bring a team anytime in the match."
"It's now not about eleven versus eleven; it has become twelve versus twelve. How smartly one team uses the impact player rule, that will now enhance a side's performance."
Apart from the impact player rule, one of the most interesting trends in IPL 2023 has been the leg-spinners being highly effective for teams, with four of them being in the top ten wicket-takers list.
Ojha pointed out that senior leg-spinners Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla, who didn't feature in last year's IPL, have been brilliant and could be hugely useful for their respective teams as the tournament progresses.
"Now a lot of teams are using leg-spinners, especially in the death overs. Initially we saw spinners bowling in the power-play, now we will see a trend where leg-spinners will be bowling in the death overs and have been more economical than other bowlers.
"It is also the reason why people are going towards experienced bowlers like Mishra, Chawla, who add value in power-play and middle overs, as well as potentially in death bowlers when the wicket are slower and can get you wickets."
Ojha, who played for Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the IPL, sees young spinners Hrithik Shokeen, Kumar Kartikeya Singh and Shahbaz Ahmed as future options for the Indian cricket team in spin department.
"He (Shokeen) has got good fingers and has the potential of doing really well, but it is too early. We hardly see any good off-spinners. After Ashwin, we have Washington Sundar. But in red-ball cricket, this guy has the potential to develop. But it's a long way to go as he's got to play a lot of domestic cricket. His bowling, temperament and action looks really good."
"Kartikeya can bowl both left-arm orthodox and wrist-spin. He has got good skills and every time he has played, he has created an impact. I would like to see some more of Shahbaz. He did well in domestic cricket and in IPL and that's why he has been picked in the Indian team. I would really like these two guys to do well."
Ever since left-arm fast-bowling all-rounder Arjun Tendulkar made his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians, he has managed to impress many former players in the two games he's played in the ongoing season.
IPL 2023: The things he tried to do, it happened for him, says Pragyan Ojha on Arjun Tendulkar
In his first game against Kolkata Knight Riders, Arjun had figures of 0/17 in two overs, before picking 1/18 in his 2.5 overs in his second match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Now joining the list of former players being impressed by Arjun has been former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who noted that the youngster was able to execute the things he aimed for while defending 20 runs in the final over against Hyderabad, where Mumbai won by 14 runs.
"Bowling those overs, it's not easy, especially when he was playing his second game. The things he tried to do, it happened for him. He was trying to swing the ball in and bowl those yorkers and he could do that, which shows his temperament, skill and how much he wants to work hard," he said in a virtual interaction organised by JioCinema, where he's an IPL expert.
Ojha foresees Arjun, the son of legendary batter Sachin Tendulkar, will have to add more tools to his armoury citing the ever-evolving world of T20 cricket, and believes the youngster has it in him to play at a higher level in cricket.
"He will need to improve because every year T20 cricket is evolving, and you have to add more skills to your repertoire. But I strongly feel he has got those skills to sustain in these kinds of leagues and maybe further go and play higher grade of cricket."
"I spoke to Zaheer Khan and he told me that Arjun is someone who you have to drag him out of the nets. So that shows how much he is dedicated. I feel we should judge him as an individual and not as a legend's son," he added.
Ojha also lauded skipper Rohit Sharma for giving Arjun the confidence of defending 20 runs in the final over against Hyderabad, which augurs well for the side's future clashes. "Against Hyderabad, he was just brilliant with the way he used his bowlers. If you see, the confidence that he gave Arjun Tendulkar was just outstanding because the guy who is playing just his second game on this kind of platform and bowling the 20th over, that is not easy and it needs lot of backing."
Ojha noted that despite missing the services of Jasprit Bumrah, Jhye Richardson and Jofra Archer nursing a niggle, Rohit has been fantastic in creating a balance in managing junior and senior players in the team.
"As a captain, he (Rohit) has been just spot on. It is not just by chance that you win five (IPL) trophies. It is by planning and how you go about your business (in the competition). Yes, at some point you can say he had a great side. But winning five trophies consistently in 15 years' time is not that easy."
"I feel Rohit has been brilliant in handling all these young boys and the seniors in the team. He creates that balance, which is not easy. When you are captaining a side which has both seniors and juniors, it is very important how you make them feel and that is where Rohit has been exceptional."