IPL 2024 – ‘You have to evolve with the times’ – Ravi Shastri backs Impact Player rule

The Impact Player rule in the IPL has not gone down too well with some current players and coaches, but former India coach Ravi Shastri is in favour of it, saying it has contributed to a number of thrilling finishes.

“The Impact Player [rule] is good. You have to evolve with the times,” Shastri told R Ashwin on his Youtube channel. “You know, it happens in other sports as well. It’s got tighter finishes. You have to evolve with the times and I think it’s a good rule. You saw the number of tight finishes we had in last year’s IPL. So, you know, it has made a big difference.”

While some – like India captain Rohit Sharma – feel that the rule is detrimental to the development of allrounders, Ashwin cited the example of Dhruv Jurel, who began his IPL career as an Impact Player in IPL 2023 and went onto make his Test debut for India within a year.

“You know when any new rule comes in, there will be…people will try and justify why that’s not right,” Shastri said. “But in time when you see the scores – 200 and 190 – and then like you mentioned individuals grabbing that opportunity and making the most of it, people will start re-looking at how they think about it.”

Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, said last week that the Impact Player rule is “not permanent” and that a call on its use in subsequent editions of the IPL will be taken after a discussion with stakeholders after the 2024 T20 World Cup.

“Impact Player is like a test case. We have implemented it slowly. The biggest advantage of it is that two Indian players are getting a chance [in each game], which is the most important,” Shah had told reporters at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Thursday. “We will consult with the players, franchises, broadcasters [and take a call]. This is not permanent [but] I am not saying that it will go.

“[We’ll see] if it’s making the game more competitive or not. Even then, if a player feels that this is not right, then we will talk to them. But no one has told us anything yet, so it will be decided after the World Cup.”

Rohit was the first high-profile Indian player to criticise the rule, which came into the IPL in 2023 after being trialled in the domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, allowing teams to bring in a 12th player at any point in a match to replace a player from the original XI announced at the toss.

Among others to speak out against the rule were Axar Patel and Mukesh Kumar of Delhi Capitals (DC).

DC head coach Ricky Ponting, however, had said he was happy for the IPL to retain the Impact Player if it was making the tournament a “better spectacle”. But from his perspective as a coach, he admitted he wasn’t too keen on the rule, calling it a “nightmare”.

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