Rohit Sharma ‘not a big fan’ of IPL’s Impact Player rule

Rohit explained at length why, for the sake of entertainment, development of players shouldn't be forgotten.

New Delhi: India skipper Rohit Sharma is “not a big fan” of the IPL’s ‘Impact Player’ rule as he feels it is hurting the country’s all-rounders by not allowing cricketers like Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube to showcase their bowling prowess.

The ‘Impact Player’ Rule, introduced in the 2023 season, allows all IPL teams to substitute a player — batter or bowler — during their respective innings as per the demands of the match.

But it has raised eyebrows given that someone like Dube has only been used as a power-hitter by his franchise Chennai Super Kings. He hasn’t bowled his medium pacers despite being in contention for the seam bowling all-rounder’s place in the India set-up along with Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya.

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“I genuinely feel that it is going to hold back (development of India all-rounders),” Rohit didn’t mince words while speaking to Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist’s YouTube show ‘Club Prairie Fire’.

Rohit explained at length why, for the sake of entertainment, the development of players shouldn’t be forgotten.

India, save Pandya, doesn’t have a genuine seam bowling all-rounder in contention for the T20 World Cup, although Dube’s name is being discussed for the finisher’s role.

“Eventually, cricket is played by 11 players, not 12 players. I am not a big fan of ‘Impact Player’, you are taking out so much from the game just because of a little bit of entertainment, for people around,” he pointed out.

“…I can give you so many examples, guys like Washington Sundar, and Shivam Dube are not getting to bowl. For us (Indian team), it is not a good thing you know. I don’t know what you can do about it but I am not a fan of it, frankly speaking,” he said.

“It is entertaining because there are 12 players, whoever the impact player is, you can change a player later seeing how the game goes, depending on how the pitch is behaving.”

“If you bat well, don’t lose wickets, you can add another bowler, you have 6-7 bowlers and you don’t need an extra batter if teams are batting well upfront. You hardly see a no.7 or 8 coming in to bat,” he said.

During the conversation, Gilchrist pointed out that before the 2023 season, if a team batting first had a century-maker, they won the match 75 per cent of times, but with ‘Impact Sub’, that percentage has come down to 50.

The former MI skipper was ready with a stat of his own to drive home his point.

“They showed a stat that from 2008 to 2023, there were only two 250 plus scores and this year, there are four 250 plus scores already, so you can imagine,” he stated.

“There are 7-8 batters (due to Impact Sub) and you realise that your No.6 or 7 bats only 7-8 balls,” he added.

‘Haven’t met Rahul Dravid or Ajit Agarkar’

With speculation spiralling on the composition of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup in June, reports emerged that Rohit met head coach Rahul Dravid and chairman of selectors Ajit Agarakar to thrash out possible names but Rohit termed it as “fake news”.

“I haven’t met anyone. Ajit is somewhere in Dubai playing golf. Rahul bhai was in Mumbai to watch his kid play. He got him to play on a red soil wicket at CCI (Brabourne Stadium). We haven’t met,” he clarified.

“In this day and age, unless me, Rahul Ajit or someone from BCCI is talking in front of the camera, everything is fake.”

Dhoni will be in the US but to play “golf”

When Gilchrist asked about “two” budding keeper-batters named “Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik”, who are showing “potential” in the IPL, the skipper also came up with a cheeky reply.

“Quite impressed, watching DK bat a couple of nights back, and Dhoni as well, came to play four balls, made a huge impact, that was the difference. It will be hard to convince MS although he is coming to the US, to do something else. He is into golf now. DK will be easier to convince I guess,” he laughed when asked whether they are being pursued for World Cup selection.

Pant is the player, who can make me laugh

When Vaughan asked, who is the one guy he would pick purely because he can make him laugh, Rohit said Rishabh Pant would be his first choice.

“He is a crazy guy you know, watched him since he was a kid and was quite disappointed since he missed a year and half. I am glad that he is back. He is quite witty, kind of stuff he does makes you laugh.

“He has his own way of doing it. Even when not playing, he was still at his best. If I have to laugh, I call him,” Rohit said.

When MI plays in Mumbai, I stay at home

Having led MI to five trophies in a 10-year stint, Rohit had to make way for Hardik Pandya as captain. He said the change has allowed him more quality time with his young family.

“Spending a lot of time with my family. Staying at home actually. Last four games that we played in Mumbai, I was at home. Just going an hour before the match for a little team meeting. It’s been a little different but its been good,” he said.

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