CricketSMAT 2022: Delhi makes first use of Impact Player Rules, Hrithik Shokeen Becomes substitute player
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SMAT 2022: Delhi makes first use of Impact Player Rules, Hrithik Shokeen Becomes substitute player

In the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which began on Tuesday across the country, Hrithik Shokeen of Delhi became the first tactical substitute technically to be called an ‘Impact Player.’

Shokeen, an offspinner, entered the game at the start of the second innings, with Delhi defending 167 against Manipur in an Elite Group B T20 match.

Shokeen came in for opener Hiten Dalal, who had initially produced 47 runs from 27 balls after Delhi were put in to bat. Shokeen ultimately impacted the ball, ending with figures of 2 for 13 in three overs as Delhi won by 71 runs.

Other notable replacements on the first day included Tamil Nadu opener Hari Nishaanth replacing fast bowler T Natarajan in their game against Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka’s leg-spinning allrounder Shreyas Gopal replacing opener Devdutt Padikkal in their game against Maharashtra.

The choice to field Nishaanth provided Tamil Nadu with an extra batting option in their 133-run chase as it appeared that Natarajan, batting at No. 11 in the opening eleven, would not have any further influence in the contest. Nishaanth batted first and scored 33 runs off 36 deliveries. However, the defending champions, Tamil Nadu, fell short by six runs.

Karnataka sent in Gopal in their 215-ball defence in Mohali after Padikkal became the season’s first centurion with a scorching 124 scored with half the number of balls. Gopal finished with 1 for 15 in three overs as Karnataka won by 99 runs.

The BCCI has trialled the impact-player concept at the SMA T20s to get feedback from players and coaches. Should it receive an approving nod, this rule could be introduced in IPL 2023.

As per the rules, teams are supposed to list four substitutes along with the starting eleven at the toss. One of these four players can then replace any member of the starting eleven before the end of the 14th over of either innings and will be able to bat and bowl his full allotment of overs.

There are no restrictions on the role the incoming impact player can play. For example, the impact player can replace a batter who has already been dismissed, and still get to bat as long as the team only uses 11 batters; or he could replace a bowler who has already sent down a few overs and still get to bowl his full four-over quota.

The only time a team cannot deploy an impact player is when truncated games are reduced to less than ten overs per side from the commencement.

However, if the match starts as a complete 20-over match and is then shortened with the batting side having already faced ten overs when the interruption occurs, both sides will be permitted to deploy the impact player.