IPL Impact Player Rule Explained: Comprehensive Overview and Details

Know what is an impact player in IPL, and how it has made the celebrated T20 league more exciting. Also, know the top 3 impact players in IPL 2023.

IPL Impact Player Rule Explained: Comprehensive Overview and Details
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2024-02-13

5 minutes read

One of the biggest reasons that have kept the T20 leagues around the world relevant and exciting even after all these years is their relentless reinvention of the game to keep viewers hooked. Below we explain what is impact player in IPL, a new concept that was introduced in the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League.

What is the Impact Player Rule in IPL

Simply put, the impact player rule in IPL allows a team to declare four substitute options during the toss, along with the playing XI, which was earlier limited to just the 12th man. The side can use one of the four substitutions as their Impact Player at any time of the match.

While the impact player can do both bat and bowl, unless a team's starting XI includes fewer than four foreign players, the league has mandated that the Impact Player can only be an Indian.

Umpire signal for Impact player rule in IPL.jpeg

When can the Impact Player be brought in?

One player may be substituted by an impact player after the conclusion of an over, following the dismissal of a batsman, or even at the beginning of an inning, i.e., during stoppages in the first or second innings of a match.

When the captains decide to opt for an Impact Player, the umpires must make a cross signal with both hands over their heads. Although there have been discussions and debates about this rule turning cricket into a 12 vs 12 format, this won’t be the case here as the Impact Player can only be replaced by another player. Once a player is subbed a player cannot return to the field, not even as a fielder.

Can an Impact Player be an overseas player?

Despite the introduction of this rule, the Indian Premier League has been mindful of its core policy of allowing just four overseas players to participate in a match. Hence, a team can only select an Indian as the Impact Player if their starting XI includes four foreign players.

However, a team may select an overseas player to come on as the Impact Player if they start the match with three or fewer foreign players in their starting XI. In that case, the new foreign player from the bench will essentially be one of the four replacements announced during the toss.

How can the Impact Player rule influence tactical calculations?

The fundamental idea behind the introduction of the impact player is to make the evening matches in IPL competitive, which were one-sided towards the toss winner owing to the excessive dew in India. Chasing teams often won the evening matches in IPL and this rule has tackled that to a large extent.

A team that is assigned to bat first can select a team sheet that allows them to have an additional batter and score as many runs as they like. When it's their turn to the field, the captain can swap the additional batter for a middle-overs bowler who can exert pressure, allowing their other primary bowlers to save their quotas.

Similar rules like Impact Player in other leagues

The Impact Player rule is very similar to the Australian T20 League Big Bash League’s X-Factor rule, which started before IPL’s popular substitute strategy. India’s domestic T20 league, namely the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT), had a slight variation of the “Impact Player” rule since 2022. 

BBL Power Surge X-Factor and Bash Boost .jpeg

The X-Factor rule differs from the “Impact Player” rule in the sense that it allows for the substitution of a player, who has been unable to participate actively in the game for whatever reason. This implies that, in situations where pace is advantageous, an extra bowler can be employed instead of an unused spinner, or an extra batter can be used in place of another unused batter, and so on.

The Impact Player rule in SMAT is quite different from that of IPL's as here the teams were required to designate the Impact Player before the toss took place. In the IPL, however, teams can bring the player on before the match's fourteenth over.

Top 3 Impact Players in IPL 2023

Venkatesh Iyer | Kolkata Knight Riders

Regardless of the underwhelming IPL season, the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise was among the few IPL teams to effectively use their impact player. With their skipper and one of the best limited-overs batsman Shreyas Iyer absent owing to an injury, all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer was tasked with the responsibility of batting deep.

Venkatesh Iyer Batting for KKR in IPL.jpeg

His century against Mumbai Indians (MI), albeit in a losing cause, earned him the Player of the Match award as Venkatesh Iyer was one of the early impact players to win that award. In nine innings, batting at a strike rate of almost 150, Iyer has scored 292 runs.

Dhruv Jurel | Rajasthan Royals

Dhruv Jurel’s initial appearance as an impact sub was memorable when Rajasthan Royals chased a steep improbable target set by Punjab Kings. Jurel’s bashing 34-run knock won him fans instantly and the management decided to stick with him in that role since. He is widely believed to be Rajasthan’s best Indian player after Sanju Samson. The upcoming season could be a huge one for Jurel as his temperament makes him a dangerous impact player.

Noor Ahmad | Gujarat Titans

Following the footsteps of compatriot and Gujarat Titans’ star T20 bowler Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad made quite an impression in the IPL last season. His debut was a remarkable one where he came on as an impact player to bowl out Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson. The Gujarat franchise has smartly used him to substitute opening batsman Shubman Gill in IPL 2023 and fetched good results with the Afghani bowler taking eight wickets in five games.


Is there an “Impact Player” rule in IPL 2024?

The Impact Player rule, which debuted in the IPL 2023 season, will also be in place for the IPL 2024 season. At the toss, teams must name four substitutes; they may select one to be their Impact Player. The Impact Player, however, needs to be an Indian if a team opens with four foreign players in their starting lineup.

What is Impact 12 in IPL?

Following a trial run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 competition in October, BCCI has implemented the 'Impact Player' rule for the 2023 Indian Premier League. It implies that each side can use 12 players on any given day. Cricket matches typically contain 11 players on each side, however, an additional player known as an "impact player" may be added to the field.

What is Impact Player in IPL in Hindi?

The Impact player in IPL in hindi can be defined as “टॉस के बाद दोनों कप्तानों को 5-5 सब्सीट्यूट प्लेयर्स के नाम देने होते हैं। इस नियम के तहत अब मैच में 11 की जगह 12 खिलाड़ी खेल सकते हैं। 12 वें खिलाड़ी को इम्पैक्ट प्लेयर कहा जाता है।”

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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