The ‘Impact Player Rule’ allows a team to have four such players named in a squad of 15 before the match and they can be substituted any time during a team’s innings by the 14th over.
However, that player has to be an Indian in case the playing XI has all four overseas players. Only if the playing XI has three overseas players, then an overseas player comes in place of another as ‘Impact Substitute’.
Call it a coincidence, but four veterans, 40-year-old Amit Mishra (166 wickets), 34-year olds Piyush Chawla (157 wickets), Mohit Sharma (92 wickets) and Ishant Sharma (84 wickets) whose India careers are all but over have been bought at their respective base prices of Rs 50 lakh in the auction.
Mishra was picked by Lucknow Super Giants which has two battle hardened coach-cum mentor pair of Gautam Gambhir-Vijay Dahiya. Delhi Capitals roped in Ishant, while Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra, having bowled alongside Mohit during latter’s best years in CSK, has decided to give him a chance.
Not to forget the wily Chawla, who had made his Test debut more than 16 summers back as a teenager, is back with the Mumbai Indians.
“Amit Mishra is a fantastic call by Gautam and his coaching staff. Look, you don’t need to check his skills as he is among the top three wicket-takers of all time in the IPL. Yes, he is 40 years old, isn’t the best of fielders and can’t hit sixes at the end. But now you don’t need to keep him in the playing XI for the entire duration,” a domestic coach, who has closely worked with Gambhir, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“If we understand Gautam one bit, Mishra will be used as an ‘Impact Player’ in some games. All you need to do is to keep him in the field for eight overs when it is necessary. Four overs of his bowling and four overs from the other end and get him done by 14th over if Lucknow bowl first.
“If they are bowling second, he can be brought in accordingly so that the team’s fielding plans are not hampered. That’s how you can make optimum use of Amit. He can still perform better than many youngsters around and some of the big budget overseas players in-front of 50,000 people can come cropper against him. All you need is to hide him in the field for four overs. That is possible.”
Ditto for Chawla who is a canny bowler and former India player and analyst Deep Dasgupta thinks that ‘Impact Player’ is a boon for all those one-dimensional players who were losing out on IPL contracts because the demands of the game have now changed.
“Mumbai Indians might not need Piyush at all at the Wankhede. But if they are playing at the Chepauk, then why not? He is a smart operator, and can still make a difference if he is used judiciously.
“For me, Impact Player is one rule that will bring in more specialists into the play. We are more and more looking at multidimensional skills but even 1-D players will remain in business,” Dasgupta said.
Like both Ishant Sharma and Mukesh Kumar could be used by Ricky Ponting in the same innings.
“If there is swing on offer, you can use Mukesh first up as he bowls good channels and get done with him by 10th over and you can still bring in Ishant and use him at the death,” Dasgupta said.
On tracks where Shivam Mavi could be thrashed, Gujarat Titans can turn to Mohit for his subtle variations and change of pace, use of knuckle balls.
While it won’t be known before a fair amount of matches are being played in this year’s IPL, the general consensus is that bowlers will prove to be more effective as ‘Impact Players’ in the larger context of the match.