In an unexpected turn of events during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Indian cricket team, was relegated to the bench as an impact substitute in Mumbai Indians’ game against Kolkata Knight Riders. This development came shortly after Sharma publicly voiced his reservations about the IPL’s ‘impact player’ rule. During his appearance on the ‘Club Prairie Fire’ podcast, Sharma had expressed doubts about the rule’s implications for the sport.

“I am not a big fan of the ‘Impact sub’ rule. It is going to hold all-rounders back, eventually cricket is played by 11 players not 12. You are taking out so much from the game to make it entertaining for people around. If you look just from the cricketing aspect of it, I feel guys like Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar aren’t getting to bowl, which for us is not a good thing,” Sharma articulated, laying bare his concerns over the introduction of the 12th player rule, which allows teams to substitute a player during a match to alter their game strategy.

Reflecting upon the advantages of having an impact player from a strategic standpoint, he mentioned, “There are 12 players for you, it is entertaining, you can bring on the impact player after watching how the game is going, how the pitch is behaving. If you bat well and you don’t lose wickets, you can add another bowler, it gives you an option of six or seven bowlers. You don’t require that extra batter because a lot of teams are batting well upfront and you hardly see a No 7 or No 8 coming to bat.”

Despite his stature and leadership role, Sharma found himself not in the initial playing XI for the clash against KKR. In their Match 51 encounter at the Wankhede Stadium, Hardik Pandya, the Mumbai Indians skipper, chose to field first upon winning the toss. Revealing the composition of their team, he declared that Naman Dhir would replace Mohammad Nabi.

“It looks quite tough for us but at the same time, we want to play good cricket. Good to be back home. Looks like a good track and it’s a fresh wicket. We have not played on this surface,” Pandya said, hinting at the possibility of a challenging game ahead but reiterating their intent to perform well.

Contrary to their opponents, Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Shreyas Iyer confirmed that they would proceed with their existing lineup. “It’s all about doing the small things right. The message is crystal clear: each individual knows his role and responsibility. Batting first, we’re going with the same team,” Iyer stated with confidence.

The lead-up to this game saw Mumbai Indians looking to rebound after suffering three consecutive defeats, while KKR had a mixed run with two victories and a loss in their last three outings. Historically, Mumbai Indians have had an upper hand with 23 wins from 32 games, whereas KKR has secured nine victories.

The teams lined up as follows:

Mumbai Indians: Ishan Kishan (wk), Naman Dhir, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya (c), Nehal Wadhera, Tim David, Gerald Coetzee, Piyush Chawla, Jasprit Bumrah, and the impact substitute, Rohit Sharma.

Substitutes: Shams Mulani, Shivalik Sharma, Dewald Brevis, Romario Shepherd.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Phil Salt (wk), Sunil Narine, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakaravarthy.

Substitutes: Chetan Sakariya, Anukul Roy, Sherfane Rutherford, KS Bharat, Manish Pandey.

With inputs from IANS, the match promised to be a closely contested one, with strategies and team compositions tested to their limits. Followers of the IPL 2024 could only wait and see how the ‘Impact Player’ rule would influence the game’s outcome and whether it would affirm or challenge Sharma’s earlier apprehensions. The anticipation amongst fans was palpable as they tuned in for the latest updates, match schedules, and points tables from NDTV Sports, and many caught the live commentary and songs exclusively on, taking their passion for cricket to new heights.

By IPL Agent

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