Rohit Sharma 'not a big fan of impact player rule' in IPL

India captain says rule is holding back all-rounders, which is not good for the game

Mumbai Indians batsman Rohit Sharma believes the impact player rule is taking too much out of the game. AP
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India captain Rohit Sharma has said he is not a fan of the IPL's "impact player" rule and believes it is taking too much out of the game just for a bit more entertainment.

According to the impact player provision, a team can substitute one player at any stage of the game. IPL matches have thus turned into 12 v 12 contests, instead of the universal 11 v 11. It has altered the team composition to a great degree, with hardly any need to strike balance in the playing XI with quality all-rounders.

Mumbai Indians star Rohit, speaking to Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan on the Club Prairie Fire podcast, said the rule is affecting the role of all-rounders, which is not good for Indian cricket.

"It is going to hold all-rounders back. Eventually cricket is played by 11 players not 12 players. You are taking out so much from the game to make it entertaining. I am not a big fan of impact sub rule," Rohit said.

“Guys like Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar aren’t getting to bowl, which for us is not a good thing.

“I don’t know what you can do about it. It is entertaining, there are 12 players for you. Whoever that impact player is, you can change things later depending on what you need, how the pitch is behaving.

“If you bat well and you don’t lose wickets, you can add another bowler, it gives you an option of six or seven bowlers. You don’t require that extra batter because a lot of teams are batting well up front and you hardly see a No 7 or No 8 coming to bat,” he said.

The best example of the change brought about by the impact player rule was during the game between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. There, Sunil Narine hit a sizzling century and then bowled his four overs in the second innings, picking up two wickets while struggling with his calf.

However, it was Rajasthan Royals who prevailed after Jos Buttler came on as an impact sub in the second innings and hit a match-winning unbeaten ton. Buttler was struggling to take singles by the end of his 60-ball knock, underscoring the unfair advantage a sub can have compared to players who have to be on the field in both innings.

Cricket expert Harsha Bhogle highlighted that Buttler might not have played at all if the impact rule had not been in place, given how unwell he looked by the end of his innings.

"For a moment, imagine there was no impact sub. Buttler would either not have played, or may not have had the energy to carry out this heist given how exhausted he was at the end," Bhogle said on X, formerly Twitter.

Former Australia captain Aaron Finch believes the impact player rule allows teams to not put too much thought into the playing XI or even squad composition.

"I think the sub takes away the strategy needed by a captain to manage his resources. The sub covers up big mistakes at the auction table," Finch wrote on X.

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Updated: April 18, 2024, 8:12 AM