IPL 2023 Rules: How impactful is the Impact Player?

Impact Player is the real game changer because it does not impose any restrictions on the two previous substitution rules.

IPL 2023 Rules: How impactful is the Impact Player?
  • Sinchan Saha | April 7, 2023 | 8:09 am

The introduction of Impact player, which has the potential to alter the very semantics of the century-old game, was the hot topic of discussion prior to the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League. Although the X-Factor Player in Big Bash League and Super Sub in the 50-over format were recent additions to white-ball cricket, Impact Sub is the real game changer because it does not impose any restrictions on the two previous substitution rules. 

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

It is different from Super Sub and X-Factor in that it treats the replaced player and the person taking his place as two different people. Both the replaced player and the one taking his place can bat and bowl the full number of overs, and the swap can happen at any time during the match. It effectively became a 12 vs. 12 contest due to all of these factors and the fact that teams can change their starting eleven after winning the toss. Every major trend observed in the first week of the season has been influenced in some way by the sub rule.

Not much impact from the Impact Player as such

Nine games into the tournament, every team, with the exception of RCB, used the Impact Player in their season opener against MI. The Impact Sub as such has not had a direct role in defining the outcome of a match, with the exception of debutant Dhruv Jurel’s sparkling cameo, which nearly gave RR a win from a position of no hope against PBKS, and Suyash Sharma‘s three wicket haul against RCB yesterday, despite the fact that the outcome of the match was decided by the time he came on. 

Across nine innings consolidated they have scored 183 runs at a strike pace of 127 while the 25.2 joined overs from them have represented seven scalps – three by Suyash Sharma alone – at an economy of 10.77.

Image Source: Times of India

The Impact Sub rule, on the other hand, has impacted numerous other game aspects. True to form, groups batting initially got going with an additional player in their beginning XI and supplanted one of their expert hitters with a bowler/bowling all-rounder in the final part while the pursuing sides went the opposite way around.

Teams go hard earlier with the extra depth

The majority of teams have been aggressive in the Powerplay as a result of the increased batting depth. After the first nine games, the Powerplay average was 54, which is second highest for an IPL edition at the same time, just behind 56 in IPL 2018. Jos Buttler and Kyle Mayers have enrolled half hundreds of years inside the initial six overs while Ruturaj Gaikwad and Prabhsimran Singh almost imitated them.

Not much chasing advantage

The impact of dew advantage for chasing teams, which has often been a feature in the first fortnight of recent IPL seasons held in India, has been diminished as a result of teams pushing harder early on. Teams that bat first have often put up totals above par, which has reduced the impact of dew advantage. The average first innings totals at this point in time read 191, which is the highest ever in an IPL edition after the first nine games of a season. The previous highest for a season was 182 in IPL 2020 held in UAE. 

Despite captains winning the toss and choosing to field every time, chasing sides have won just three and lost six of the nine matches so far. This is the best W-L ratio at the same point in an IPL season in India since 2015 (Sides setting target won five In the nine matches hitherto, groups that scored 180+ batting first effectively guarded their all out while all objectives under 180 got pursued down.

No more soft overs

As a result of the Impact Player rule, teams have been able to stockpile their XIs with bowlers and bowling all-rounders, eliminating the impact of the fifth and sixth bowlers—or their absence—who are frequently the attack’s weak link. Teams have used a minimum of five bowlers in only five of the 18 innings thus far. 

RR and DC, the two teams with balance issues (DC bowled Axar Patel but used three Mitchell Marsh overs against GT), were responsible for all three of these instances, which is not surprising. Other teams that did not use more than five bowlers in the first two games were CSK and KKR, where Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Andre Russell, and Anukul Roy were not used.

Wrist spin dominates finger spin bar Chepauk

The finger spinners have had little to offer from the tracks since the pitches were fresh at the beginning of the season, preventing them from making a significant impact. Chepauk, on the other hand, was the only exception, offering the driest track yet and attracting CSK spinners. 

With LSG at 73 without loss after five overs in the Powerplay, Moeen Ali and Mitchell Santner pulled it back for the home team by bowling eight overs for 47 runs, dismissing half of LSG’s batters and helping CSK defend 217 by 12 runs. Outside of Chepauk, finger spin only took ten wickets at 42.10 in eight other games.

The other new rules yet to come to the fore

Adding wides and no balls to the scope of DRS was the other new rule that was implemented at the start of the season. With only 11 of the 20 referrals currently active, it has not attracted many participants.

The IPL was the last major league to implement this new rule, which imposed penalties in the form of bringing in one extra fielder inside the ring for time overshoots. In spite of this, none of the innings that endured full 20 overs were finished inside the specified season of 90 mins yet just once a group was punished for it – CSK against LSG (CSK didn’t help their objective by bowling 13 wides and three no balls in their bowling innings).

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