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The forgotten concept of Super Sub in cricket

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Suresh Raina was used as India's Super Sub in a few occasions
Suresh Raina was used as India's Super Sub in a few occasions

Football, a game played over 90 minutes, offers a lot of unpredictability and dynamics over the duration of the game time. A part of it is possible due to the substitutions which can be made throughout the game. In most of the cases, a maximum of three changes is allowed over the courses of the game.

It allows a lot of technical changes to be made and is very helpful when a player is injured. Though Cricket does not have such a concept, the gentlemen's game did have a similar concept before, the super substitute.

Introduced in July 2005, the major intention behind this rule was to change the dynamics of ODI cricket and to also encourage teams to give more prominence to all-rounders in the team. In this rule, the captains had to name a player from their team as a "Super Sub" before the toss apart from selecting their playing eleven. During the match, the teams had a choice to use this "Super Sub" instead of a player who was originally part of their playing eleven.

However, most of the teams decided to select a specialist batsman or a bowler which led to the unfair advantage of the team which had won the toss. Essentially, in the second innings, the team which had lost the toss will have a substitute remaining who would not be useful if the toss-winning team had opted to either bat or field which was opposite to the role of the selected Super Sub of the opposition team. It would mean a 11 vs 12 for the team which had lost the toss.

Hence, the idea was heavily criticized and ICC had to remove the rule in 2006, only 9 months after its introduction. Alternatively, the rule to nominate the "Super Sub" after the toss would have been beneficial to both the teams.

With the decrease in Cricket viewership, its high time that ICC makes such interesting changes to the game of cricket. Substitutes would mean more talent will be recognized and cricket can become a global sport since most of the other sports have the concept of substitutes.

Cricket can also be played in a very different way with more space for tactics and ideas to be made. In the current Indian team, who would you think would have been an ideal Super Sub?

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