IPL 2024: Impact Player rule has definitely worked, says Mithali Raj

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS): When the Impact Player rule was introduced in the 2023 Indian Premier League, it meant that teams, though taking their own time to understand the dynamics of the ruling, would be able to avail the use of an extra batting option whenever needed.

In IPL 2024, it has certainly been the case, with teams being able to use the ruling to get another batter in and push up the scoring rate, which is leading to some unprecedented heights being reached from a batting point of view.

As per statistics from Cricket-21, there have been 487 sixes hit so far till Match 29 of IPL 2024, with the average sixes hit in a match being 17 and a six being hit in every 14 balls. So far, 10468 runs have been made in the competition, with the run rate at a high 9.3.

The average runs per innings is at 180, with a boundary being hit in every five balls. If one narrows down to the final five overs, then a boundary is being hit in every four deliveries. Moreover, all of the mentioned statistics are the best-ever numbers for any IPL season till 29 matches.

Mithali Raj, the former India women’s captain who has served as mentor of Gujarat Giants side in two seasons of the Women’s Premier League, attributes this rise in batting figures to the impact player ruling.

“The Impact Player rule has definitely worked because it does support the teams when one uses it for swapping a batter with a bowler in the second innings. We have seen how it has helped teams to post big totals and more so, especially it has helped teams in chasing.”

“This season, we have also seen it being utilised more when the batting department hasn’t come good. They have used impact players in those instances, but it hasn’t really come off well. But when the teams have been chasing, it has definitely helped them a lot,” said Mithali while replying to an IANS query in the Star Sports Press Room.

While batting numbers are touching new peaks in IPL 2024 due to the Impact Player rule, Irfan Pathan, the former India men’s fast-bowler and Player of the Match in the 2007 T20 World Cup final, feels Indian cricket needs to have a rethink about the impact rule as it will hamper the development of all-rounders in the long run.

“The rule may not be great for Indian cricket in long-term, because if you see people like Venkatesh Iyer and Shivam Dube, they haven’t bowled regularly at all. Plus, there are other all-rounders as well who can bowl, but play as a batter mainly and are unable to be in the playing eleven. Plus, you want the youngsters to be part of the game.”

“I am really worried about all-rounders and going forward, we need to think about this aspect as well. Impact Player rule is benefitting entertainment part of cricket, which is high-scoring games and Mithali rightly mentioned it. But Indian cricket will have to think about it going forward as far as all-rounders are concerned.”

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings had used Shivam Dube as an Impact Player in IPL 2023, where he became the designated spin hitter in the team’s batting line-up. In this season, CSK have stuck to using Dube in the Impact Player role, where he’s now bashing spinners and fast bowlers with equal gusto.

Dube’s rollicking run with the bat since IPL 2023, including posting good all-round performances since returning to India’s T20I set-up later in the year, keeps him in good stead to make the cut for the T20 World Cup squad, where he’s in direct competition for the fast-bowling all-rounder slot with Hardik Pandya. "See eventually there will be a time when he'll put pressure on Hardik Pandya. If he starts bowling, the kind of hitting ability that Shivam Dube has, it's next to anyone. He's been able to murder the spinner. No one comes close to him as far as Indian cricket is concerned who are currently playing or trying to play.”

“You can negate Mahendra Singh Dhoni because he has retired. But when it comes to batting in the middle overs, Shivam Dube is the best and I'll be highly disappointed if he doesn't go to the World Cup, because that's the thing we have missed in T20 World cups, in so many World Cups, we've missed a guy like Yuvraj Singh, who can hit six sixes. Who can get a half-century in 16-17 balls? Shivam Dube is the kind of guy who plays fearlessly from the word go.”

“I was watching the game (CSK v KKR last week), he came in, first ball against the left-arm spinner first ball, second ball hit out of the park, I haven't seen anything like that. Yes, Hardik’s ability as a hitter has gone down, and that is why a lot of people are talking about Shivam Dube as well."

"It might be that both of them will take the flight to the World Cup because you have to take the experience as well, but I'm very excited about Shivam Dube and what he can bring to the table,” concluded Pathan.


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Title: IPL 2024: Impact Player rule has definitely worked, says Mithali Raj

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