Last Updated: 03/07/20 2:44pm
Counties will be allowed to field two overseas players in four-day and 50-over cricket from 2021, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.
Teams are currently able to select only one imported player – except for the two permitted in the 20-over competition.
But with Kolpak deals coming to an end at the end of the year following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the ECB has upped that number to two to maintain the strength of the county game.
Kolpak deals gave sportsmen from countries with associate trade agreements with the EU the same rights as EU workers, with Essex’s former South Africa spinner Simon Harmer one of the players who had such a contract.
Sir Andrew Strauss, chair of the ECB’s Performance Cricket Committee (PCC) which recommended the changes to the ECB, said: “There is an important balance to be struck to ensure the need for good foreign players in county cricket and providing opportunity for nine England-qualified players in each county team.
“There are clearly long-established benefits for our domestic players to compete against and learn from the best players from across the world in addition to providing high-quality domestic cricket for county members and fans to enjoy.
“An increase in Unqualified cricketers allows First-Class Counties to maintain that standard while also enabling them to plan and prepare for next summer.”