Abhishek Sharma, a player of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been experiencing an existential crisis due to the Impact Player rule. Tom Moody, the former all-rounder and coach, expressed his concern about the development of all-round players, referencing Abhishek when he said that he struggles to see players with all-round skills suffer without opportunity. Abhishek had bowled 30 overs in ten T20 games for Punjab during the 2022-23 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, picking up ten wickets while going at an economy of 5.10, which he believes should have been enough to merit selection as a bowler. However, in the first five games of IPL 2023, he has not been given a single over to bowl.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, like any other IPL team, are in it to win matches and tournaments, and it’s a feel-good byproduct if they happen to develop young talent in the process. They are not obliged to do what’s best for Abhishek’s long-term growth. However, on Saturday night, they felt the need for Abhishek’s bowling, and he performed competently. He took his time finding his length but settled into a reasonable rhythm and even managed to chip in with a wicket.
Before he did what he could with the ball to help Sunrisers close out a hard-fought win, Abhishek had set the game up perfectly with an innings of unusual poise on an unusual surface. Watching the game in its entirety, the fluency of Abhishek’s ball-striking seemed extraordinary. He batted in a manner where he waited for errors in line or length and put them away while making full use of the powerplay field restrictions. He was batting on 57 off 31 balls, and he’d hit ten fours and a six at the halfway point of Sunrisers’ innings. Somehow Abhishek seemed to be able to hold his shape and meet the ball on his terms, striking it only when it entered what AB de Villiers refers to as the “box”.
Abhishek Sharma’s experience in the IPL exemplifies the difficulties that the Impact Player rule can create for all-rounders who do not have a settled role in their team. However, his competent performance with the ball and his innings of unusual poise on an unusual surface shows that there can still be a place for a less-than-genuine all-rounder in the Impact Player era, but that place only exists if the all-rounder is really pulling his weight with his primary skill.
One thought on “The Struggles of All-Rounders Under IPL’s Impact Player Rule”
The IPL’s Impact Player Rule has certainly affected the role and value of all-rounders in the league. While it has added a new dimension of excitement to the game, it has also made it more challenging for all-rounders to make their mark and secure a spot in their teams. The pressure is on for them to perform at a high level in limited opportunities, and this can be difficult, especially in such a high-pressure environment. However, for those who do manage to succeed, the rewards can be significant, as they become valuable assets to their teams and can have a major impact on the outcome of matches.