The 'Impact Player' rule and return of the home and away format is expected to completely change the dynamics of IPL 2023
IPL 2023 (Pic Courtesy: BCCI/IPL)
The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is known to introduce innovative elements each season to make it more alluring to its fans. The 16th edition looks no different. The 'Impact Player' rule and return of the home and away format is expected to completely change the dynamics of the IPL. "This will add a new tactical, strategic dimension to the game," the IPL stated in a release days ahead of the mega auction. "A number of team sports allow teams to make tactical substitutes i.e., football, rugby, basketball, baseball. The substitute is allowed to perform or participate like any other regular player."
According to the Impact Player rule, a team will have to list four substitutes at the toss, in addition to the playing XI. They can use any one of the four subs as their Impact Player. A captain can bring the Impact Player in before the start of an innings; at the end of an over; and at the fall of a wicket or when a batter retires. However, if the bowling side brings in an Impact Player during an over -- at the fall of a wicket or if a batter retires -- they will not be allowed to bowl the remaining balls of the over. The rule further says that the replaced player will play no further part in the game, not even as a substitute fielder. As far as the restriction, if a team names four overseas players in their starting XI, then they can only bring in an Indian as the Impact Player. This is to limit the number of overseas players per game to four per team.
In that vein, let us dwell deep into the list of probable players who can make their presence felt as 'Impact Players' this season.
Chennai Super Kings does not have an extra foreign batter in their ranks, so the player has to be of Indian-origin. MS Dhoni will look to exploit the experienced Ambati Rayudu's heroics with the bat. They also have the option of replacing him with someone like Rajvardhan Hangargekar or Prashant Solanki if fatigue gets the better of Rayudu. Both Hangargekar and Solanki give the Chennai side an additional bowling option as well.
Rajat Patidar/Finn Allen
Rajat Patidar will undoubtedly be a very handy player for RCB. Rajat can fill in the shoes of Mohammed Siraj while chasing big totals. So can be Finn Allen. During run-chase, Du Plessis can decide to bring in Allen in place of Josh Hazlewood or Patidar in place of Mohammed Siraj.
Age has certainly caught up with Amit Mishra. Should the need arise, the Lucknow franchise can hand Mishra the much-deserved rest. If the LSG team bowls first and a spinner yields too many runs, they can bank on Mishra's rich on-field experience. Another way of looking at it is Mishra can be included in the starting XI and can be sent off after he completes his quota of four overs while Lucknow can opt to field an extra batter. In that case, they will have to play an Indian batter and can choose anyone among Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, and Ayush Badoni.
It is no secret that Piyush Chawla is past his prime and is not in the best state of fitness. Perhaps, the most effective way to utilise his potential is to make him a 'horses for courses' commodity in IPL 2023. On pitches where the ball turns, one cannot look beyond Chawla. Once he completes his spell, he could be replaced with a pure batter in the playing XI to push up the total.
Matthew Wade/Wriddhiman Saha
Matthew Wade or Wriddhiman Saha can be the impact player for Gujarat. Wade, however, has a more realistic chance as he is quite the finisher. Pandya can field an extra bowler in the first innings and ask Saha to keep wickets. They can drop the bowler during run-chase. They can then probably do away with an overseas fast bowler. For instance, Wade can come in place of Alzarri Joseph and bat as low as Number 8, owing to his exceptional finishing skills.