After Rohit Sharma, Axar Patel and Mukesh Kumar express unhappiness over Impact player rule

A week after India captain Rohit Sharma said he was not a fan of impact player rule and is hampering the growth of all-rounders, Delhi Capitals duo of Axar Patel and Mukesh Kumar have expressed their displeasure with the ruling currently being used in IPL 2024.

New Delhi: A week after India captain Rohit Sharma said he was not a fan of impact player rule and is hampering the growth of all-rounders, Delhi Capitals duo of Axar Patel and Mukesh Kumar have expressed their displeasure with the ruling currently being used in IPL 2024.

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The impact player ruling was introduced in IPL 2023 after a successful trialling in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The rule allows all ten teams to bring in a player from the five nominated substitutes at any point in a match to replace a player in the playing eleven once the match began.

The impact player rule effectively makes an IPL match a 12-player per-side contest, while also reducing the need for an all-rounder in the game. The rule, which can also be used to get in an extra batter, has meant that batters have been able to amass big totals by smashing bowlers for runs aplenty.

“I am not a big fan of impact player rule because as an all-rounder, I know the rule will be used for a proper batter or bowler, but not for an all-rounder. We have talked about it with the core group – Rishabh (Pant), Dada (Sourav Ganguly) and Ricky (Ponting). Thing is, I can play early in the batting order.

“But if you want to give the chance to a young player, then you have to give them their position, but because of that (Impact Player rule) I have to come down the order. Like it happened in the first game (against Punjab Kings) when Abishek Porel came out as an impact player.

“Plus, IPL games are pressure situations, and with an impact player introduced if the batting unit doesn’t go well, I then have to come lower down the order,” said Axar in a press meet organised by the franchise.

Fast-bowler Mukesh echoed his views over the impact player rule. “If 12 players are not playing at the international level, then what is the need of it in IPL? With 12 players, even if four wickets are down, the next player is not scared of getting out or making the team stable, as they come and play their shots. So either the nature of tracks should be changed or 12 players should not be allowed.”

Veteran left-handed opener David Warner believes the impact player rule is taking out the all-rounders out of T20 cricket. “I won’t say the boundaries are shrinking. They’re still the same size. Look, it’s not my place to comment on the impact rule. Well, the game is evolving, right? So I think people are just trying different things.”

“My thing is, if you got 15-16 people on the bench, then you want to maximise as much as you can. Is the game going to change a lot in the next 10 years? It probably will. Where is it going to get to? I’m not sure what contest you want to see.

“I feel like it’s taken the all-round option out now. When you look at an eleven, you always had that one person in the team, whether he was a better bowling all rounder, or better batter all rounder.

“We are adapting as cricketers, so we’re enjoying that and it’s also tactically when you’re sitting on the bench, if you’re not scoring runs, then you can put that batsman in. So, like, there’s a lot of thinking. But the rule itself, it’s up to whoever wants to make the rule and how we adapt with it,” said Warner.

Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly, DC’s director of cricket, thought the otherwise, saying good all-rounders are still present in the playing elevens of various teams in IPL 2024. “It has (affected) a little bit but good all-rounders still play, isn’t it? Hardik Pandya is still playing. You look at Rashid (Khan), he’s playing.”

“He’s in the eleven straight away, so good ones will always play. Glenn Maxwell played, obviously, he’s taken a bit of a break; Mitch Marsh played for us, although he didn’t get enough runs for us. (Ravindra) Jadeja plays for Chennai, and Nitish Reddy plays for (Sunrisers) Hyderabad.

“Russell and Narine play for KKR. But good ones will always be apart because they contribute either with the bat or ball. I don’t think it diminishes the all-rounder’s role but then for average all-rounders you have the option of bringing in a better batsman and a better bowler, but the good ones will always find a place in the side.”

Ponting thinks the Impact Player rule is causing two things to happen in IPL 2024: high scores and mindset change of batting in the format. “It’s a bit of both: batting skills have got better as well. Plus, the mindset has changed a little bit and I think the impact player is also helping. So when you put all those three things together, that’s why you’re seeing these 250 plus scores being made.

“What we saw in our game the other night (against SRH) was incredible. For a team to get 125 in the powerplay and then we had the second highest powerplay total ever in IPL history and we were still 40 runs behind – that goes to show how good SRH were,” he said.

“But also our batting the other night, I mean, we were well and truly on target. So we were doing some good things as well. But the impact player is definitely helping. You can stack your batting at the top. You can allow your batters to go out and play with freedom and then if you get in trouble, you can bring a batsman in to try and fix things up.

“So it’s definitely helping and I’ve been asked the last couple of weeks about that as well. Do I think it’s good or bad for the game? It’s not ideal for a coach and it’s probably not ideal that you haven’t just got 11 versus 11 in the way that the traditional game has always been played.”

“But I think the fans are probably enjoying seeing 270 runs being scored in innings of a T20 game. At the end of the day, we have to understand that this is an entertainment package that we’re putting on the field. If the fans are enjoying it, then this rule will probably stay, Ponting added.

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