LSG exposes flaw in IPL playing conditions with impact player KL Rahul-Naveen-ul-Haq’s tricky sub in PBKS match | Cricket


The introduction of the Impact Player rule, drawing on the concept of other team sports like football, rugby and basketball, in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, has added a new dimension in T20 cricket. Although the move initially received widespread criticism from cricket pundits, who feared it would ultimately negate the role of all-rounders in the match, it emerged as a key tactical element for teams over the 85 matches played in IPL since its introduction. However, on Saturday, Lucknow Super Giants exposed a flaw in the concept when they introduced Afghanistan’s Naveen-ul-Haq as striker-batsman KL Rahul’s impact player during their batting innings in the IPL match 2024 against Punjab Kings at Ekana Stadium.

What does the Impact Player rule say?

LSG made the Impact Player sub between KL Rahul and Naveen-ul-Haq

According to the concept, each team must name a playing XI and five substitute defensive players at the time of the draw. From this list of substitute players, can a team choose one as an impact player. Both teams can only use this rule once in the game, although they can also object to it.

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Based on the regulations released in 2023, it further mentions that an impact player can only be an Indian player unless there are less than 4 foreign players in the Playing XI. Meanwhile, a foreign player can only be used as an impact player in a situation where a team names fewer foreign players in the starting XI. Only a foreign player who is one of the 5 substitutes named on the team sheet can be used as an Impact player. If a team presents a foreign player as an Impact player during a match, a fifth foreign player cannot enter the field under any circumstances.

What did the Lucknow Super Giants do?

KJVwho won the toss and chose to bat first against BKShad just three foreign players in their starting XI: Quinton de Kock, stand-in skipper Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis.

Following Pooran’s dismissal at the start of the 16th over, Krunal Pandya came in, suggesting that Lucknow were still considering his replacement with the Impact Player. If they needed more batting, they could call on Ashton Turner, but if they had fewer deliveries left, they would more likely call on a specialist bowler. The home side ultimately opted for the batter’s option after being left with just eight balls in the innings when their last specialist batter, Ayush Badoni, departed. Hence, they introduced Naveen, but instead of Rahul.

How did LSG expose the IPL flaw?

With LSG having only named three foreign players in the starting XI and based on the aforementioned Impact Player rule, they were well within their rights to pursue the Naveen-Rahul swap. But what makes this questionable is that Rahul has already batted in the innings scoring 15 off 9. Didn’t the swap leave Lucknow with 12 players in the lineup at a time when conditions IPL game reports on Impact Player say: “In any situation, only 11 players can bat”? What would have happened if Naveen had also been fired? Would the umpires have allowed Lucknow to allow Mayank Yadav and M Siddharth to bat as well, both of whom were in the starting XI?

What the LSG law indicates is that the batting team will get an extra hitter, without replacing a bowler, by simply swapping a specialist hitter with a player who has been released. And this in turn would imply that the bowling team can swap a bowler, once he has completed his quota of overs, with another specialist option, who will also be allowed to bowl 4 overs. What triggers this debate is that the IPL rules make no reference to this loophole.

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