Which team has been the most impressive with the Impact Player in IPL 2023?
@swaris16 5 minute read
The Impact Player rule in IPL 2023 added a tactical element to the ongoing edition, and Sarah Waris take a look at how teams have fared with it thus far.
Find the entire list of Impact Players used IPL 2023 here
The BCCI first introduced the rule during the last season of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy before implementing it in the IPL from 2023. The rule allows one player from a team’s starting XI to be replaced during each game, although there are several layers to it.
Ahead of the season, captains admitted to feeling clueless about the new tactic. Two weeks into the edition a few teams have been proactive, while most have been largely conservative, getting in bowlers for batters who cannot bowl.
SRH left viewers excited when they named three overseas players in their XI against LSG – a move that helped them be flexible with which overseas cricketer to get in. However, getting in fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi a fast bowler when they could have got in Heinrich Klaasen after the early loss of wickets was befuddling. To add to that, they Farooqi replaced Rahul Tripathi, an excellent fielder.
SRH did not get in an Impact Player for their next game. Against KKR, they named T Natarajan in their XI while batting first, and brought in Washington Sundar, a capable batter, in the second innings, removing any chance of Sundar getting a chance to bat in the game.
RCB did not need an Impact Player in the opener as with Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli chased down the runs, but their failure to get in Mahipal Lomror, a good player of spin, against KKR after the top-order had crumbled to the slower bowlers, has been criticised.
CSK have experimented the least, subbing in a batter who cannot bowl with a specialist bowler in all four games. They got in Tushar Deshpande for Ambati Rayudu after the first innings for two matches, and the injured Deepak Chahar with Rayudu in their third game, against the Mumbai Indians.
In their last game, Rayudu came in for Sisanda Magala, a South Africa quick with a T20 strike rate of 125. Magala has scored 60 runs this season at a strike rate of 136.36 at the top order, and their Impact Players have not been unpredictable.
KKR have followed a similar trend as well. They have got in Venkatesh Iyer in each of their first three matches that they have played, replacing him with either Varun Chakravarthy or Suyash Sharma – two spinners who are also rank tail-enders. While unsurprising, the Impact Players have worked for them, with all of Varun, Suyash and Iyer in form, their changes.
DC have played it safe as far as their Impact Player rule is concerned, not using Sarfaraz Khan (against LSG) and Prithvi Shaw (against RR and MI) while fielding. Neither is the quickest on the field, and the franchise have used it to its advantage.
GT were forced to make a forced substitution in their opener against CSK after Kane Williamson was injured in the first innings. They did not use an Impact Player in their latest game, against Punjab Kings. In between, they got in Vijay Shankar for Josh Little for their batting innings against Delhi Capitals.
Against KKR, they got Little for Sai Sudharsan and not Shankar, presumably for the latter’s ability to send down a few overs from time to time and leave them with bowling options on a flat wicket.
MI have fielded three overseas quicks in two of their three games, against RCB and DC, which allowed them the opportunity to bring in a fourth foreigner according to the game situation. Against CSK, they got in Kumar Kartikeya while bowling second, with no big-name overseas spinner in their squad, maximising the most of their available resources.
LSG have been one of the most impressive teams with their usage of the Impact Player – though it has always involved Ayush Badoni. They were smart enough to get in Krishnappa Gowtham immediately Badoni’s dismissal against DC in their opening game. Only one ball remained in the innings, and Gowtham hit a six.
Badoni replaced Avesh Khan in the next game, and the 41-year-old Amit Mishra since then, keeping in mind the workload management.
PBKS have mixed up their Impact Players. They first got in all-rounder Rishi Dhawan, who starred in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, as a bowler with the injury-prone Bhanuka Rajapaksa in their first game. Rajapaksa was injured in the next game, and Punjab brought in Dhawan for Prabhsimran Singh.
They were on their toes against SRH when opener Prabhsimran was out first ball. Having named three overseas players in their XI, they subbed in Sikandar Raza, which allowed them the scope to utilise Raza both as a batter and a bowler. Against GT, on a slow wicket, they got Rahul Chahar, in accordance to the wicket and conditions.
RR have also gone in for the batter-replaces-a-bowler strategy, but have left it open-ended and according to the conditions on offer. In the first game, they got in Navdeep Saini after they made 202 and reduced SRH to 63-6. While not a tactical change, it gave Saini precious game time.
Dhruv Jurel almost won the game after he replaced Yuzvendra Chahal against Punjab. Against Delhi, Rajasthan were quick to replace Jos Buttler, who was playing with a stitched finger, with M Ashwin, who bowled one over and sent down 11 runs. In the next game, against CSK on the spinner-friendly Chepauk, RR fielded named three overseas players in their XI and replaced Buttler with Adam Zampa.
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