The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is all set to introduce a new game-changing concept in its T20 domestic series. Called 'Impact Player' rule, the new norm is just like a tactical substitution in other sports such as football, and rugby.
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, the cricket board is planning to implement the rule in domestic T20 tournament Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy starting this October 11 to make T20s even more interesting and competitive. The BCCI has elaborated on the concept and rule in letter to its state associations.
If the rule works smoothly, people may possibly see the new rule change the surface of the game from next season of IPL, one of the world's most lucrative sports leagues, even though the BCCI has not officially confirmed involving itself in women's cricket or IPL as of now.
But what exactly is an Impact Player?
In layman's language, introduction of Impact Player means teams will be allowed to make a maximum of 1 substitution from their playing XI during a game to enhance their chances of victory. Teams will have to declare their four substitutes at the time of declaring playing XI. Only one of these four players can be used as an Impact Player.
Use of Impact Player:
The use of Impact Player is not compulsory but it's up to teams to decide on their introduction. An Impact Player can be used any time before completion of the 14th over of either innings.
In case a player gets injured while fielding in the middle of an over, the injured player can be replaced by the Impact Player mid over but the injured player cannot participate for the rest of the match.
In case the Impact Player is used and subsequently an injury also occurs, then in such a case, same playing conditions allowing substitutes will be applicable.
The bowling team can bring the Impact Player mid-over or at the end of the over if there is an injury to any fielder.
A player replaced by an Impact Player is not permitted to return as a substitute fielder.
However, if a bowler is suspended for any breach of rule, the ‘Impact Player’ cannot substitute that player.
An Impact Player will be allowed to bowl a full allotment of four overs in an uninterrupted innings irrespective of the number of overs earlier bowled by the player he is replacing.
At any point, the skipper, team manager or the coach can bring in the Impact Player by notifying the fourth umpire, at the fall of a wicket or at the innings break.
What say experts?
Cricket experts believe that the new rule will matter quite a lot as to how and when to use Impact Player as it is expected to change the dynamics of the match at any given time.
However, some have also raised eyebrows against the move.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said, "When you inject new elements to spice up things, you fall into the trap of having to invent such features regularly. "What's new this year" becomes the theme. If T20 gets jaded as 50 overs cricket seemed when T20 was invented, you could look at rejuvenating it. For now it is fine."
I am not sure I understand the need for an "impact player" in T20 cricket. You tinker with things when you think they are jaded. T20 is in the pink of health largely because the layperson understands it well; it is easy to follow. And the layperson is at the heart of sport (1/2)— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 17, 2022