A number of team sports have the option of making tactical substitutions like in football, basketball, rugby. It's time for cricket to take a leaf out of their rule book. Australia's Big Bash League (BBL) were the first to introduce the concept in the sport. And now, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) aims to pull off a similar move as they have decided to introduce an 'impact player' rule in the T20 format for the impending Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season starting October.
According to the BCCI document released, the statement explaining the rule says, "The concept of an Impact Player is to allow one substitute player per team to take a more active part in a match. This would add a new tactical / strategic dimension to the game." So here is how the concept works...
1. Each team will have to identify four substitute players while naming their playing XI at the time of toss. Only one of those substitute players can be used as an Impact Player.
2. Both teams will be allowed to use only one Impact Player in a match and the move isn't a compulsory one. If a team decides to play this card, the Impact Player has to be introduced before the 14th over of an innings and the captain/head coach/team manager has to notify the same to the on-field or the fourth umpire before the end of the current over about the introduction of the Impact Player. For a batting team, an Impact Player can be introduced at the fall of a wicket or during the innings break.
3. The player whom the Impact Player replaces can no longer be part of the match any longer.
4. If a player incurs an injury while fielding in the middle of an over, the current playing condition prevails under 24.1 - Substitute Fielders. However, if the injured player is replaced by the Impact Player, then he can no longer take part in the match. Otherwise, Impact Player can only be introduced after the completion of the over for the fielding side.
5. In case of Impact Player used by a team, and if an injury occurs, the same rule will apply as they currently do under playing condition 24. Fielder's Absence; Substitutes. If umpires are satisfied that a fielder has been injured or become ill during the match, a substitute fielder is allowed to field in place of an injured player. The substitute shall not bowl or act as captain. Penalty time for the Batting and Fielding teams will apply to the player off the field for the substitute as per the playing conditions.
6. After the introduction of an Impact Player in a match, the player can bat and may bowl his full quota of 4 overs in an uninterrupted innings. In case a player gets retired hurt, Impact Player can be introduced only at the end of the over in progress and is eligible to bat. In any situation, only 11 players can bat.
7. If there is a delayed start to a match which has reduced the number of overs to less than 10 in an innings before the start of the match, then no Impact Player rule applies.