Like two sides to a coin, there will always be a debate on what makes an ideal impact player. Taking a leaf out of the IPL’s eight-year history though, it’s obvious that this time too the impact players may bowl part-time spin and be good fielders but must be the cleanest hitters of the ball.
The two standout teams simply because of the number of high impact players on their roster are Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians while Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad look weakest.
Bangalore have always gone for pricey pickings — players who are high-value assets to their international sides, but are yet to deliver a trophy. Perhaps that was the only reason that prodded them into buying Shane Watson this season. So their batting order should read like this — Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and AB de Villiers.
Among them, Kohli has perfected the art of chasing targets by concentrating on the basics. That makes him a better impact player than Gayle, Watson and de Villiers since he will try to take out the possibility of being dismissed by concentrating on low-risk shots.
Often, impact players also lead their sides. And possibly no one has done it better than Rohit Sharma, who was captain both times Mumbai Indians won the IPL. The fact that he has the company of Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson makes it a fearsome batting line-up. The one Indian, however, to watch out for could be Jasprit Bumrah. Matured by his international stint, Bumrah may go on to become one of the best death bowlers this IPL.
No one has been a bigger impact player than MS Dhoni but a new team may make him slightly defensive at the beginning. The team otherwise is loaded with players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Steven Smith and Faf du Plessis but their success will depend on how the team bonds. The situation is similar for Gujarat Lions, who are led by Suresh Raina and have players like Ravindra Jadeja and Brendon McCullum at their disposal.