What Is Substitute Player Rule in IPL?

Learn all about the substitute player rule in the Indian Premier League as Sportsboom provides you with the best rundown on the topic.

Kaylan Geekie
Kaylan Geekie

Last Updated: 2024-04-16

Louis Hobbs

5 minutes read

An umpire signals for an Impact Player substitution during the IPL

One of the more innovative changes to the rules in a cricket tournament came in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL).

The substitute player rule is also known as the “Impact Player” rule in the IPL.

The IPL has several rules that vary from the established Laws of cricket or those used in other Twenty20 leagues.

This new rule added tactical and strategic dimensions to the world's premier franchise T20 tournament.

This new rule allowed teams to use a substitute player for the first time in the IPL.

SportsBoom investigates this modern cricket innovation to find out what the substitute player rule is in the IPL.

Image Credit: Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishanan

Image Credit: Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishanan

Substitutes in Cricket

The rules for substitutes appear in Law 24 of the Laws of Cricket.

The sport of cricket can be traced back to the Middle Ages during the mid-16th century.

However, there has never been a substitute in First-Class cricket who could bat or bowl until a few years ago.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, no cricketer could be tactically substituted during a match.

Almost every sport in the world allows teams to make substitutes i.e., football, rugby union, rugby league, American Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and more.

The substitute can perform or take part like any other regular player and can be introduced for medical or tactical reasons.

Cricket has always had a 12th man in case of injuries or other reasons for players to be interchanged.

A cricket substitute can act for the injured or ill player, in the field, although they may not bowl, bat, or act as a captain unless otherwise agreed by the captains.

The substitute player, however, was not always allowed to bat or bowl, only field, especially in List A and international cricket.

•    The uncapped players who scored the most runs in an IPL season.

Even if the 12th man takes a catch, or he/she affects a run-out, their name is omitted from the scorecard and replaced with 'caught sub' or 'run out, sub'.

International cricket did introduce the 'Concussion Substitute' rule in 2019 for head injuries, this shows the sport is moving with modern times.

In June 2020, the ICC approved a rule providing that if a player was found COVID-19 positive in the middle of a series they would be quarantined immediately.

The player would not be allowed to participate in the remainder of the series and would be replaced by a "like-for-like" substitute.

However, unlike the IPL, the 'Concussion Substitute' must be a like-for-like player.

This means that the substitute must be a similar type of player to the one that they are replacing.

If a specialist batsman has been concussed and must leave the match, another batsman must replace them.

The 'Impact Player' rule in the IPL allows for the substitute to bat and bowl and is one of the most dynamic rule changes in cricket history. 

Image Credit: Abhinav619

Image Credit: Abhinav619

How does the “Impact Player” rule work in the IPL?

The introduction of the “Impact Player” rule was a massive significant change for the IPL in 2023.

One player from each team can be substituted mid-game, but only once per match.

The impact substitute must come from a list of four players confirmed before the toss.

Substitutions can be made either before the start of an innings; at the end of the over; at the fall of a wicket or when a batter retires.

Once replaced, the substituted player cannot participate in the game, not even on the field.

The substitute can replace any player from the starting XI at any point before the end of the 14th over of either side's innings.

The “Impact Player” is allowed to bat and bowl his full quota of overs.

In the IPL, teams can field a maximum of four overseas players per match.

Therefore, if four overseas players are named in the starting XI, the replacement player must be Indian.

The “Impact Player” can join play before the start of an inning, at the end of an over, when a wicket falls, or when a batter retires.

However, the substitute will not be able to bowl the remaining balls of the over if they are brought on by the bowling side when a wicket falls, or a batsman retires.

The replaced player can play no further part in the match, and their team can still only use 11 batsmen.

This means one of the players yet to bat will not do so if the “Impact Player” does.


When was the “Impact Player” rule introduced in the IPL?

The “Impact Player” rule was introduced into the IPL in 2023.

How many substitutes can an IPL team make during a match?

Each team can make one substitute during an IPL game.

What is the umpire signal for “Impact Players” in the IPL?

The umpires will clench their fists and cross their hands above their heads to signal an 'Impact Player' is about to enter the game.

What is the “Concussion Substitution” rule in cricket?

The International Cricket Council introduced this law in 2019. Head injuries were becoming an increasing concern in many sports and cricket was no exception.

With no provision for full substitutes, there was a danger that a player might want to continue in the match when it was not safe.

What is the IPL Substitute Rule in Hindi?

प्रतिस्थापन नियम टीमों को एक मैच के दौरान खिलाड़ी को बदलने की अनुमति देता है विशेष परिस्थितियों में, जैसे चोट या बीमारी के कारण।

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Kaylan Geekie
Kaylan Geekie Sports Writer

Kaylan Geekie is a sports fanatic. He attended Durban High School before moving to Scotland, where he lived for 15 years. During his time in the United Kingdom, Kaylan graduated with a first-class BA Honours Degree in Sports Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland. Kaylan worked for nine years as the Match-Day Editor of, reporting on Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, the 2015 Men's Rugby World Cup and the 2017 British & Irish Lions series for the website.