IPL 2020: BCCI needs to keep in mind lessons from 'super sub' experiment before implementing Power Player rule
“Imagine you need 20 runs off the last six balls, and you have Andre Russell sitting in the dug-out as he wasn’t a 100 percent [fit] and wasn’t part of the original XI. But now, he can walk in and go slam-bang and win you the game,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying this week.
Sounds interesting? Of course it does. But if we jog our memory back to 2005, the ICC had introduced what it thought was a revolutionary idea in limited overs cricket (ODI/50 overs to be precise). Each team was to be allowed one substitute ('super sub') who had to be named at the toss and could be introduced at any time during the match.
The experiment was discarded in just nine months as the teams felt that the rule gave an unfair advantage to the team that won the toss.
The ICC had an option to persist with the rule with a small tweak - that teams could name their super sub after the toss, which would have allowed a level playing field for the team batting second. But instead they chose to listen to the players who felt that junking the rule altogether would be in the best interests of the game.
Now its BCCI's turn to experiment with a rule that is somewhat similar to the tactical substitution experimented with by ICC. The rule is reportedly going to be introduced during IPL 2020, where both teams would name a 15-player squad each instead of the usual 11.
We need to wait for more information on how and when the teams would announce their playing 11, who would qualify for the position of "power player", and whether the power player can walk in at any time. We also need to see how the team management, especially the coach and the captain, would deal with the strategy on the ground.
This is an idea that sounds very interesting, but it is one that needs to be tested and possibly tweaked before anyone can even think of making it a part of international T20s and ODIs. The failed experiment with the super sub suggests that such rules need a lot of fine-tuning before they are accepted across the board, and the BCCI would do well to keep that in mind.