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IPL 2024

Ponting on Impact Player: If the everyday viewer really likes, it can continue

Umpire GR Sadashiv Iyer signal for impact player during match 43 of the Tata Indian Premier League between the Lucknow Super Giants and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow, on the 1st May 2023
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The Impact Player rule has been a “nightmare” for Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting, but he reckoned that the fans should decide the future of this rule.

The Impact Player rule has been instrumental in teams going all guns blazing from the start in IPL 2024. Sides like Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders, who are stacked with power hitters, notched up three scores over 250 between them. The Hyderabad-Bengaluru match saw an aggregate of 549 runs (the highest ever in a T20).

“I can answer it in two ways,” Ricky Ponting weighed in on the future of the contentious system in a conversation with ESPNcricinfo after the Bengaluru run-fest.

“It’d be really interesting to hear what the public think about it. If the everyday viewer really likes it and thinks it’s good, then it can continue.

“If the average person gets a bit confused by it and doesn’t know what’s going on – an Impact Player here, someone goes in, someone comes out – if they are confused by it [then you have a rethink]. At the end of the day, we’ve got to think about the product that’s going there and what everyone’s watching as well.”

From his point of view as a coach, Ponting admitted he wasn’t strongly advocating the introduction of Impact Player in 2023, even though coaches and players widely accepted it in the tournament’s previous edition.

Speaking to Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan, India captain Rohit Sharma, recently mentioned that he was “not a big fan” of the Impact Player. He felt it was detrimental to the all-rounders, especially the domestic players.

Ponting agreed with Rohit, saying his job as a coach “would be much easier” without the additional responsibility of selecting five Impact Player options along with the starting XI: “From a player’s point and a coach’s point of view, the game would be much easier if you just pick 11, just pick your best 11 and put the 11 on the park and go and play.

“I’ll tell you now, we’ll sit back after training tonight and select our teams and you’ve got to pick two teams and you’ve got to have your five impact guys. There’s so many different ways you can go around doing that, looking at different combinations. It actually can be a bit of a nightmare.”

However, Ponting opined that the rule should stay if the fans want it: “It looks to me like [the Impact Player is] having an impact on the game. More runs are being scored. So you’d think people that were sitting back and watching that game last night would be mesmerised by the cricket.

“I was getting messages last night saying what a crazy game of cricket, what an unbelievable game of cricket. So if the Impact Player is making it a better spectacle, then it should stay.”

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