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Rohit on Impact Player rule: 'I'm not a big fan'

He says it is holding back the development of allrounders, with the likes of Dube and Washington not getting a chance to bowl in the IPL

ESPNcricinfo staff
18-Apr-2024 • 16 hrs ago
India captain Rohit Sharma is "not a fan" of the Impact Player rule in the IPL, arguing that it's detrimental to the growth of allrounders in Indian cricket. Rohit is the first high-profile Indian player to be critical of the Impact Player rule which was introduced in IPL 2023 and allows teams to bring in a 12th player at any point in a match to replace a player from the XI after the toss.
"I generally feel that it is going to hold back [development of allrounders] because eventually cricket is played by 11 players, not 12 players," Rohit said on the Club Prairie Podcast, which is co-hosted Adam Gilchirst and Michael Vaughan. "I'm not a big fan of impact player. You are taking out so much from the game just to make it little entertainment for the people around. But if you look [at] genuinely just cricketing aspect of it…. I can give you so many examples - guys like Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube are not getting to bowl, which for us [India team] is not a good thing."
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Rohit's comments come two weeks before Indian selectors will finalise and submit the provisional 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup which will be played in the Caribbean and the USA from June 1. Among the most significant selections questions confronting India's team management is if they should include the likes of Dube as one of the allrounders in the squad.
The challenge, though, for the Indian selection panel, led by former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar, is Dube has not regularly bowled even in domestic cricket recently and has not yet bowled in IPL 2024, where he plays for defending champions Chennai Super Kings. Dube emerged as a contender for the allrounder position after producing striking performances in the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in January, when he also bowled seven overs. As for Washington, who is primarily an offspinner but can also bat in multiple positions, he has just played a single game for Sunrisers Hyderabad this season.
India have primarily looked at the trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel as allrounders who can also provide batting depth, but the fitness and form of the last two has been a talking point.
Even in 2023, while he said he "liked" the Impact Player Rule, Rohit had said he was skeptical about how it would affect the role of allrounders. "I don't know whether it will impact an allrounder," Rohit had said last season at Mumbai's season-opening press conference, when he was the captain. "An allrounder will always be an allrounder. No matter what stage of the game, it will give you an option of bowling him any time, making him bat anytime. So allrounder will remain allrounder. Yes, with that 12th player, you can always fill that gap of having that balance of having a fifth or probably sixth bowler or an extra batter."
While he is critical of the Impact Player rule now, Rohit said he had no solution to offer to IPL. "I don't know what you can do about it, but I'm not a fan of it honestly speaking," he said. "Because there's obviously 12 players for you to select from and whoever that impact player is, you can see how the game is going and change it later depending on what you need, what pitch is behaving. If you bat well, if you don't lose wickets, you can add another bowler so it gives you an option of having six or seven bowlers. You don't need that extra batter because a lot of the teams actually upfront are batting well, and then you hardly see Nos. 7 or 8 coming to bat."