Controversial Impact Player Rule In IPL: Game-Changer Or Flop?

Controversial Impact Player Rule In IPL: Game-Changer Or Flop?

It has received mixed reactions from cricketers and fans

Rushikesh BamneUpdated: Sunday, May 19, 2024, 12:16 PM IST
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Pic: PTI

The Impact Player rule has been a hot topic of debate since the beginning of the current season of Indian Premier League (IPL). The rule has led to skyrocketing totals and quenched fans thirst for runs. But not everyone is happy with the change, especially the all-rounders in the popular T20 tournament.

Introduced last season, the rule allows teams to bring in a substitute at any time for a player in the starting 11. Teams have been using it to great effect in the current campaign, swapping out a bowler for a batter during a run chase and bringing up 200-plus totals frequently.

Whereas, some teams have also used the rule to their advantage in a different way. For instance, Against Royal Challengers Bengaluru, in April month, opener Travis Head smashed 102 off 41 balls as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted an IPL record 287-3. After their innings was over, Hyderabad replaced Head with bowler Mayank Markande, who claimed 2 wickets in their 25-run victory.Rohit Sharma, Captain of Indian Cricket team as well as several bowlers like Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Mukesh Kumar have openly criticised this rule. ''I generally feel that it is going to hold back development of all-rounders, because eventually cricket is played by 11 players, not 12 players,'' Rohit said a few weeks ago.

Pic: PTI

However, India' Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, England Captain Joss Buttler and former cricketers such as Ravi Shastri, Ricky Ponting have insisted to continue with this rule or even try in International format (at least for T-20). Increasing gossip about the rule forced BCCI secretary Jay Shah to comment on it. During a Press Conference held in Mumbai last week, Jay Shah said Impact Player rule is not permanent and a call on its use in subsequent editions of the IPL will be taken after a discussion with stakeholders after the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Nevertheless, even though we have reached the last stage of on-going IPL. It remains unclear whether this rule will be there in future as well, especially in IPL or whether bowlers will get a sigh of relief.

Few fans have expressed their opinions about this rule. Shubham Shetty, a hardcore Chennai Super Kings fan, wants the rule to be modified for next season. “Impact player is a good decision. It is been beneficial for all Indian domestic players. However, the role of all-rounders has reduced. And, it's up to the franchises to optimise their resources. It should be there in the next season, but should be used properly, like between over number 7-15,” he shares.

Whereas Tanay Gaikwad, who supports Mumbai Indians, feels it is unfair for the all-rounders.  “Other international teams have at least three all rounders among the playing 11. India, however, has just Hardik. And, removing this rule will provide a fair chance of playing for all-rounders in the team. It should not be applied in international cricket,” he avers.

What is Impact Player rule
The Impact Player rule allows teams to name five substitute players in addition to their playing XI before a match.

After the match starts, captains of both teams can nominate any one of these five substitutes to replace one of the players in the starting XI at any point of the match.

It came into the IPL in 2023 after being trialled in the domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament. On March 31, 2023, CSK pacer Tushar Deshpande became the first Impact Player in IPL history after replacing batter Ambati Rayudu in the season opener against Gujarat Titans.

Experts Corner

Loss for Indian Cricket

I think IPL needs to take away the impact player rule, as it's not encouraging the all-rounders to bowl much. Also the lack of all-rounders and batters not bowling is a major area of concern for Indian cricket. It can entertain crowds or change the momentum of a game. But from a longer perspective, it will only cause the game. The Indian team have only one proper medium pacer all-rounder in the form of Hardik Pandya. Shivam Dube, Venkatesh Iyer hardly got any chance to bowl in this IPL.

–Wasim Jaffer, Former Indian Cricketer

It will affect the all-rounders

The Impact Player rule is very interesting. Fans get excited by it. But I'm definitely not in favor of it. Final call has to be taken by the BCCI. The bowlers also have a big role to play in the IPL. But due to this rule and shorter boundaries, only batters are ruling the cricket. All-rounders are not even in the frame. This rule has almost killed all-rounders in this season. Also youngsters and their parents should not get carried away by the success and limelight of IPL. They must focus on playing longer format of cricket as well.

– Dilip Vengsarkar, Former Indian Captain

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