Will ending ‘Impact Player’ rule bring down IPL high scores? DC head coach Ponting says no

New Delhi, 14 May: Delhi Capitals head coach and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes high-scoring games will continue to be a norm in the IPL even if the much-debated ‘Impact Player’ rule is discontinued.
The Impact Player rule allows teams to replace one of the original XI announced at the toss at any point during the match.
It has divided opinions with some like India captain Rohit Sharma calling it detrimental for all-rounders as they don’t get a chance to bowl while some others like Sourav Ganguly describing it as a good innovation.
“…there is a talk if the impact player remains in the IPL, if it doesn’t, will the scores come down again? I am interested to see that. I am not sure they will,” the three-time World Cup winner said during the release of Delhi Capitals’ batting coach Pravin Amre’s autobiography ‘Zero FOR 5: The Thrilling Cricket Journey of Pravin Amre’ here on Monday.
“Yes, the impact player does provide a bit of cushion for the guys at the top but I think the guys at the top are so used to going out and playing a certain way.
“I mean imagine trying to tell Jake Fraser-McGurk to play a different way or tell Travis Head to be a little bit defensive, that’s just not going to happen,” he explained.
This year, the 200-mark has been breached 36 times so far in the IPL, compared to the overall count of 37 the previous edition. BCCI secretary Jay Shah has stated that the rule can be reconsidered if that’s what the stakeholders would like at the end of the IPL.
Ponting also spoke about the challenges that a coach faces while handling a franchise. He said the job is more difficult than coaching a national team.
“I think it is a lot more difficult being a coach of a franchise team because the different nationalities involved, a few Australian coaches, couple of Australian players, couple of South African players, we have New Zealanders, we have Nepalese part of our squad over the journey,” he said.
“And the hardest part of coaching with the franchise is only getting the players together for a few days before the first game of the season, when you are trying to create culture around the team, you haven’t got much time with the players.
“It’s really hard to do that, it is also hard to make big skill changes in such a short period of time,” he listed the difficulties of the job.
Talking about the evolution of the game in the last decade, Ponting said the space for batters with “classical technique” is shrinking.
“Look at the way England are trying to play now, they haven’t got it exactly right yet…players have come through playing a lot of one-day or T20 cricket,” he said.
“…there still is room for purist batsmen in Test match cricket, but that’s going to be less and less,” he pointed out.
Ponting said Indian superstar Virat Kohli and Englishman Joe Root are among the few top batters with a classical technique.
“…in the last 10 years there is not a lot of classical technique in the modern day batters, you look at the absolute best now, Joe Root is probably the most classical one,”
“Stephen Smith, what he has done over the years has been a little bit different, Marnus Labuschagne has been a bit different with the way he plays, Virat is classically, technically very good as well, but I think there is a bit of a shift,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Amre said his book underlines the importance of having a good mentor.
“When I became the coach of the Mumbai Ranji trophy team for the first time in 2006-07, in the Ranji semifinal, we were 0 for 5, the top-five had been dismissed for zero,” he recalled.
“…but the whole team believed that they could come out of that, and they did it. As a coach, I was very proud of that. They went on to win that game and also the championship, hence I chose that title for the book.” (PTI)