By Niharika Raina
Ahmedabad, Mar 23 (IANS): Vikram Solanki, the director of cricket of Gujarat Titans franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believes that the impact player rule, set to be introduced from the upcoming season, will be bringing an interesting dynamic to the cash rich league.
For the upcoming IPL season starting from March 31, teams have to name five substitutes apart from the playing eleven after the toss is conducted. A captain can pick one of the four substitutes as impact player at any juncture and can bring him at the start of the innings or at the end of an over or when a wicket falls.
"It's going to be an interesting change to the dynamics. It will bring for some tactical decisions to be made. But essentially the way we are looking at it at the moment, especially naming your eleven or bigger squad of 15 after the toss, that has a slightly different bearing as well."
But initially we are starting to have discussions about it and I repeat, it will bring an interesting dynamic to the IPL this year. We have had discussions about it and it will be interesting to see how the teams go about it," said Solanki while replying to a question from IANS in the pre-season virtual interaction.
Titans will enter IPL 2023 as defending champions after having won the title in their very first outing as a team last year, and will begin their campaign against Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium on March 31.
Central to that stunning run to the trophy was the leadership skills as well as all-round performance shown by Hardik Pandya, with Solanki expressing confidence that the fast-bowling all-rounder will keep the side together, especially after having captained India in 11 T20Is as well as in one ODI.
"I don't think Hardik was new to the leadership role. I maintain that we viewed Hardik as a leader from the time he joined the team last year because he had the experience of winning four IPL titles with Mumbai Indians and played some leadership role there. It was very apparent from how he conducted himself," said Solanki.
"Hardik took to that leadership role almost seamlessly. We are looking forward to him joining the team, as he led us tremendously well last year. We don't know if there will be a change in his leadership since he has captained India. I am confident Hardik will be the same as he was last year and he will keep the whole team involved," he added.
Apart from Hardik, in-form Shubman Gill also holds the key for Titans' getting a good start with the bat. Gill had amassed 483 runs in 16 matches for the Titans' in IPL 2022 at an average of 34.5. He comes into IPL 2023 on the back of scoring centuries for India in Tests, ODIs and T20Is in this year. Solanki threw light on how Gill can be a leader for the future.
"Shubman Gill has been a leader in his own right for the simple fact that he takes on a lot of responsibility. Shubman adopted a leadership role last year by his conduct, the professional attitude ahead of every game."
"Do I think Shubman will be a leader in the future? Yes, absolutely. But no decision has been made on it. He is very mature and a considerate young man who has an abundant amount of talent, but he's also got a very smart cricket brain."
Asked about the pressure of going into the competition as defending champions, Solanki remarked the Titans' are aware of putting in hard yards more than ever to fend off the challenge from other teams.
"All teams go about working hard as possibly as they can and trying to put in place strategies and taking decisions for the betterment of their team. It is just that the decisions we took and things we did were successful last year. That's not a guarantee that it will be the case this year."
Everybody in their endeavour tries to possibly be the best team that they can be. I am confident that every team sets out to win every match and place themselves in the qualification arena to win the competition," said Titans's director of cricket.
"Every team sets out to do that; we were just the same and the decisions we took helped us to navigate our way to the championship. We know that we will have to work very hard to get into the positions we want to be in this year and are aware that the rest of the teams are doing exactly that as well," he added.