Indian Premier League 2023 (IPL) has been a popular cricket tournament since its inception in 2008, revolutionizing the game over the last decade. This season, the league is introducing a new innovation called the “Impact Player” substitute, which will effectively make T20s a 12-player game.
However, this substitute can only be an Indian player since foreign players are limited to five per team. A foreign player can only be used as a substitute if their team has chosen to play with less than four foreign players in their initial XI. Additionally, captains now have the option to provide two team sheets at the toss, allowing them to choose their preferred lineup based on the result of the toss.
Each sheet can include up to four “Impact Player” substitutes, but only one can be used during the game. These changes promise to add even more excitement to an already thrilling tournament, making the IPL even more unpredictable and dynamic.
Indian Premier League 2023 : Golden rule for oldies?
Specialists are a golden rule in cricket, as explained by former India stumper Deep Dasgupta, who is now a commentator. He cites the example of leg-spinners Amit Mishra from Delhi Capitals and Piyush Chawla from Mumbai Indians, who may not be the most agile fielders or competent batsmen at this stage of their careers, but they know their main craft and can come in late, bowl their four overs, and exit the game.
Similarly, South African pacer Anrich Nortje from Delhi Capitals, who has struggled with his fitness, can be utilized for a short burst of bowling and not take any further part in the game. Such specialized players can prove to be a valuable asset to a team and contribute to its success.
No allrounder, no issues
The introduction of the “Impact Player” substitute rule in the IPL has also eased the burden on teams that lack top all-rounders. The presence of hard-hitting batsmen like Prithvi Shaw from Delhi Capitals, who can be replaced by a bowler or vice versa, has made things simpler for teams that do not have the likes of Ravindra Jadeja or Hardik Pandya.
This innovative rule is comparable to the five substitutes allowed in football and can change the dynamic of the game. L Balaji, who served as the bowling coach of Chennai Super Kings until the previous season, believes that this rule will make the IPL more exciting and lead to more close finishes due to the increased quality of players at the backend. This change promises to level the playing field and ensure that every team has a fighting chance in the tournament.
Toss No longer the Boss
The toss has always played a significant role in T20 cricket, with teams batting second having the upper hand due to the dew factor. However, with the new “Impact Player” substitute rule in place, the team fielding second can now have an extra bowler as cover, negating the toss’s impact. Commentator Deep Dasgupta believes that this change will level the playing field, making the game fairer.
A similar rule called “Super Sub” was tried out in the lead-up to the 2007 ODI World Cup, but it failed to take off because the substitute had to be named before the toss, giving the team winning the toss an undue advantage. However, with the “Impact Player” substitute rule, the player can be chosen after the toss, making it a more balanced and fairer rule.
Former player L Balaji, who was playing cricket during the Super Sub era, believes that this change will make the game more competitive and exciting for players and fans alike.
The “Impact Player” substitute rule could prove to be a game-changer for teams who have lost crucial players closer to the IPL. For instance, Mumbai Indians, who have lost Jasprit Bumrah, can name three foreigners in their first lineup and use a left-arm pacer like Jason Behrendorff instead of an Indian batter in the second half of the innings.
While this new rule might reduce the unpredictability that is so central to cricket’s spirit, former India stumper Deep Dasgupta hopes that the big team think-tanks understand the rule properly. He fears that misinterpretation of the rule could lead to longer delays, disrupting the game’s flow. The true impact of this rule can only be seen once the tournament begins, and the teams analyze the conditions and make decisions accordingly.
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