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‘Supersub repackaged’ – What is ‘Impact Player’, BCCI’s reported player substitution system for T20s?

BCCI Impact Player
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

According to various media outlets in India, the BCCI is in the process of implementing a player substitution concept called ‘Impact Player’ for domestic T20s – here’s what we know so far.

The BCCI is said to have sent a dossier to state associations around the country, mentioning the concept of ‘Impact Player’, as reported by Indian Express.

What we know so far

Teams will need to mention four substitute players outside their XI ahead of the game, with one of them being chosen as an Impact Player. The said player can be used as a substitute for any of the first-XI players any time before the end of the 14th over in either innings. The replaced player won’t have any role to play for the remainder of the contest.


Here’s where it gets interesting: an ‘Impact Player’ can come into the side and bowl their quota of four overs, irrespective of whether the player they are replacing bowled any overs earlier in the game. A team can look to implement the substitution midway through their batting – at the expense of a dismissed batter – if they’re looking to add more strength to their lineup. Similarly, the fielding side can look to make the change before the 14th over as well, and bring in an additional bowling option.

However, it’s clear that only 11 players can bat. ‘Impact Player’ can only be employed at the completion of an over, unless it’s being used to replace an injured player.

According to Cricbuzz, the concept is set to be introduced in the upcoming edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – India’s domestic T20 tournament (beginning October 11)– although it’s unclear yet whether the same will be tried out in future editions of the IPL.

Have we seen this before?

Yes, but in different forms. Who can forget the Supersub concept in the mid-2000s, which was equal parts innovative and divisive for its time. Teams were supposed to name one player before the toss who could be called on as a replacement.

There was plenty of criticism around the novel concept, which led to ICC scrapping it within a year. The disapproval largely stemmed from the undue advantage the team winning the toss had, essentially leaving it to be an 11 versus 12 contest in certain situations.

More recently, the Big Bash League introduced a concept on similar lines (among a bunch of other innovations), called X-Factor. The ‘X-Factor Player’ could be the 12th or 13th player on the team sheet, and could be summoned to replace a first-XI player any time before the 10th over. Similar to what is being reported for ‘Impact Player’, an X-Factor Player can bowl their quota of four overs, even if the player they are replacing has bowled earlier in the game.

What’s the verdict?

We’ll wait for it to go official, before passing our verdict. So far, though, there’s been plenty of chatter in the Indian cricket circles over the move.

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