The All-India Cricket (AICC) has taken a major step towards modernizing its operations by approving the player substitution in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match. The BCCI had earlier announced that they will be introducing this new rule in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match between Vidarbha and Maharashtra which is scheduled to take place on 29th January 2019 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nanded. 

This decision comes under the ‘Increasing Operational Flexibility’ section of the Lodestar Code which was released by the BCCI on 6th December 2018. With this new implementation by the AICCC, teams can now use a substitute player without having to end their innings. 

In case they do have to end their innings due to rain or other inclement weather conditions,

only one substitute player can be used with immediate effect. These rules will also apply when there is a flood in

any part of the ground and it becomes difficult for players to continue with their innings.


What is the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy?

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is an inter-state tournament in the Vijay Saha series in the state of Maharashtra. This is the second-most important domestic cricket tournament in India after the Ranji Trophy. The Vijay Saha series was start in 1986-87 as a successor to the Rothmans Trophy

and the Maharaj Vijay Singh Trophy. The first final was play in the year 1988-89. 

During the same season, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy was launch to hold in the same season as the

Ranji Trophy. Since then, this has been the routine for the two biggest domestic cricket tournaments in India. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has name after the former Indian captain, Syed Mushtaq Ali. He was a legendary cricketer of the 1930s and 1940s

who scored the world record of 9 centuries in a single season. He is also credit with having invent the reverse sweep.


Why was this change in the rule?

The change was make to bring more flexibility to the operations of the teams during the Vijay Saa series. During the Vijay Saa series, the clash between Vidarbha and Maharashtra is being play in Nanded at the Vidarbha

Cricket Association Stadium. Vidarbha is the home team in this match and the Maharashtra team is coming to this match as the visiting side. 

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The weather in this part of the country is unpredictable and can change at any moment. If a team has to end their innings due to inclement weather, the team can use only one substitute player. On the other hand, if they have to continue the match

due to rain, they can use two substitute players with immediate effect. This flexibility can be a lifesaver for teams in such conditions.


BCCI will be introducing Player Substitution in the SMA Trophy Match

If the rule is implement in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match, it will implement in the SMA Trophy match as well. Here, the teams playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy are Gujarat and the Rest of India. The rest of India is playing in the SMA Trophy after a gap of five years. In the last SMA trophy final played in the year 2016, the Rest of India defeated Mumbai by 5 wickets. The match is schedule to play on 27th January 2019 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.


How is Player Substitution Different from End of Play and Duckworth-Lewis Rule?

The player substitution is a major deviation from the End of Play and Duckworth-Lewis rules. In the EoP rule, the umpire decides when the match should end based on the score at the end of the play. Also, In the Duckworth-Lewis rule, the team with the lower score wins the match if they are 10 runs behind or less. Also, In the player substitution, the team captain decides when the player who is replacing a fellow team member should take the field. This is a major deviation from the current norms as in all the previous versions of the rules, the team captain decides when the player who is replacing a fellow team member should take the field.



After considering all the factors and looking at the issues that have arisen in the past as well, the BCCI has decided to introduce player substitution in the SMA Trophy match. The rules for player substitution will introduce for two matches in a season and will be applicable to both Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and SMA Trophy. Player substitution is an essential amendment to the rules and will help the teams in difficult situations.

With inclement weather becoming a regular feature in the Indian subcontinent, the teams need to be ready for all types of emergencies. The players need to be ready to replace their teammates and play any type of match, whether it is a one-day match or a T20 match. With the introduction of player substitution, the teams will prepare for any eventuality and will not be left with an option of continuing the match due to inclement weather.