Former Indian batter and the current Punjab batting coach Wasim Jaffer feels that the Indian Premier League must take away the Impact Player rule to encourage more all-rounders. Jaffers believes the rule has done more harm than good for Indian cricket.
The Indian Premier League introduced the Impact Player rule in the 2023 season, allowing teams to make one substitution at any point during the match. According to the Impact Player rule, a team can substitute a member of the playing eleven with anyone out of five substitutes named alongside the starting XI at the toss.
“I think IPL needs to take away the impact player rule, as it's not encouraging the all-rounders to bowl much and lack of ARs and batters not bowling is a major area of concern for Indian cricket. Thoughts?,” Jaffer wrote on X.
Earlier, teams usually played a combination of six batters, four bowlers and an all-rounder. The teams which had more all-rounders in the playing XI held an advantage and it encouraged players to work on two skills.
However, the Impact Player rule allowed teams to not worry about the traditional T20 set-up and rely less on all-rounders. They could load up the playing XI with an extra batter while batting first or an extra bowler while bowling first and could replace them in the second innings. The rule has also been implemented in domestic cricket, allowing them to be balanced without all-rounders.
What Jaffer says about Impact Player rule?
The Impact Player rule was a huge boost to the IPL teams but Jaffer thinks that it could hurt India as it discourages the growth of all-rounders in the country.
India currently relies heavily on their star all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Since making his debut in 2016, he has become a vital part of India's limited overs set-up and the team hasn't been able to find a like-for-like replacement. With the Impact Player rule hurting the development of all-rounders, it would affect the supply chain further for Indian cricket.
The IPL 2023 saw designated all-rounders bowl fewer overs than in previous editions. Now that the rule has been extended to domestic cricket, Jaffer’s concerns seem reasonable as the domestic circuit is where the players are nurtured.
The effects of the Impact Player rule might also be seen in the upcoming IPL 2024 auction, which is set to take place on December 19th.
In the previous IPL auctions, all-rounders such as Yuvraj Singh, Chris Morris and Ben Stokes or even players like Pat Cummins and Shardul Thakur fetched huge amounts because of their dual skill set.
In the IPL 2023 Auction, England all-rounder Sam Curran became the most expensive player in the history at INR 18.50 cr while Australian all-rounder Cameron Green bagged INR 17.50 cr.
Now that teams are well versed with how the Impact Player rule works, they could focus less on all-rounders in the auction and try to get specialist batters or bowlers. The rule was, in part, made to give playing time to more Indian players but it could affect the value of Indian all-rounders. How it plays out, remains to be seen.