The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and other domestic Twenty20 tournaments will now use the ‘Impact Player’ concept that has been implemented by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Making the format more appealing, dynamic, and intriguing not only for the fans but also for the competing teams from a strategic aspect is the plan, which will go into force this season.
The Indian Premier League’s upcoming season will probably also adopt the impact player rule. Teams are allowed to make one substitution from their starting XI during a game if they believe it will help. The board will test the new rule in state cricket to give teams and players time to get acquainted with it.
The idea of an Impact Player, according to the board, will enable a substitute player, per team, to participate more actively in a game. This would give the game a fresh tactical and strategic component. According to a report by the Indian Express, it is said that a circular was sent across all state associations, where the BCCI wrote:
“With the ever-growing popularity of T20 cricket, it is imperative that we look at introducing new dimensions which will make this format more attractive and interesting not only for our viewers but also the participating teams from a strategic viewpoint.”
“Teams need to identify playing XI and 4 substitutes at the time of the toss. Out of the 4 substitutes named in the team sheet, only one of the players can be used as an Impact player,” the BCCI circular further stated.
In Australia’s premier Big Bash League, an “X-Factor Player” who is either the 12th or 13th player listed on the team sheet is allowed to enter the match after the 10th over of the first innings and replacing any player who has not yet batted or bowled more than one over.
A set of guidelines to be followed while deploying Impact Player
Even if the cricketer they replaced has already bowled, the substitute player is only allowed to bowl a total of four overs. The fourth umpire or the on-field officials must be informed of the deployment of the Impact Player by the captain, head coach, and team manager.
“Player who is replaced by an Impact Player can no longer take part in the remainder of the match and is also not permitted to return as a substitute fielder. If a player gets injured while fielding in mid-over, the current playing condition prevails under 24.1 – substitute fielders,” the note added.
If the team substitutes an Impact Player for an injured player, the injured player is no longer permitted to participate in the game. If not, an Impact Player can only be utilized after an over is finished. However, if a team uses an Impact Player and an injury strikes, the same regulation will apply as it does while the game is in progress. The Impact Player can be substituted for the batting team either at the fall of a wicket or during the innings break. In this case, the team must inform the fourth umpire.
“After the introduction of Impact Player in game, a player can bat and may bowl a full allotment of 4 overs in an uninterrupted innings. In case a player gets retired hurt, Impact Player can be introduced only at the end of the over in progress and is eligible to bat. In any situation, only 11 players can bat,” the note stated.
The BCCI provided an example to illustrate the rules: a side that has been allowed to bat loses a couple of early wickets and wants to add to their batting depth to post a difficult score. As a result, it might substitute a dismissed batter for an Impact Player. The opposing team might choose to deploy an Impact Player who offers more bowling opportunities or delay their Impact Player switch until the innings break to improve their depth in the batting.
A bowling team may introduce their Impact Player towards the conclusion of an over or if a fielder is hurt in the middle of one. However, no Impact Players may be used if a delayed start decreases the total amount of overs to less than 10 per innings before the start of the game.
“An Impact Player may bowl a full allotment of 4 overs in an uninterrupted inning irrespective of the number of overs previously bowled by the player he is replacing. If a bowler is suspended because of any breach of law, then he cannot be replaced by the Impact Player,” the circular added.