ECB Allow Additional Overseas Players

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Two County Overseas Players Permitted

The Kolpak Ruling. Finally, coming to an end in County Cricket?

The England and Wales Cricket Board have today announced that two unqualified for England or overseas players are to be allowed in County Championship and One Day first-class formats from the 2021 season.

The change by the England & Wales Cricket Board comes following a controversial decision to end Kolpak registrations at the end of this year. Kolpak deals have been used in the UK, primarily to bring in South African players since 2004. However, in line with new UK legislation following Brexit, they will not be permitted.

What is Kolpak?

Instead of a Kolpak Player Duanne Olivier would now become an Overseas Player for Yorkshire in 2021
TAUNTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 10: Duanne Olivier celebrates the wicket of James Hildreth of Somerset during Day 1 of the Specsavers County Championship match between Somerset and Yorkshire at The Cooper Associates County Ground on September 10, 2019 in Taunton, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Kolpak originated in 2003. It is a term used in the United Kingdom. It allows overseas players in domestic leagues via the Kolpak ruling. Freedom of work and movement are both granted.

Examples include both Duanne Olivier and Kyle Abbott. Plus Rilee Rossouw and Simon Harmer. All four were in their prime or approaching their prime for South Africa.

Perhaps, finally, the Kolpak drain in South Africa is coming to an end? The players that received Kolpak contracts will no longer be able to continue them.

There has long since been an argument over the impact of overseas players on the UK county game. Some heralding the positive influence of integrating the best from around the world with current English talent.

Others arguing against suggesting an influx of overseas players could limit chances for that same young English talent. However, this has proved false at times. Excellent players such as Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Dominic Sibley have made it to the England test match team in recent times.

Either way, the new Brexit ruling means that those players cannot register as Kolpak players. They would have to fit into the traditional overseas players signing instead.

What Andrew Strauss Said Regarding Overseas Players

Andrew Strauss director of the ECB
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 07: ECB Chairman Colin Graves speaks with Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss ahead of day one of the Specsavers 5th Test between England and India at The Kia Oval on September 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“There is an important balance to be struck to ensure the need for good foreign players in county cricket. This provides the opportunity for nine England-qualified players in each county team” – ECB Performance Cricket Committee Chairman Andrew Strauss

First-class counties till now could only field two overseas players in the T20 Blast competition. Restrictions in place to permit one player in other formats has stood since a rule change in 2007.

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August the 1st is when the County Championship season will start for the summer. The friendlies will take place in the days leading up to this date. The majority of counties have been forced to cancel plans for overseas players this season. This is because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic both financially and logistically.

The ECB has also announced today the planned return of recreational cricket in the UK from next weekend. The specific guidelines, however, remain unclear.

In other news England all-rounder, Sam Curran has returned a negative coronavirus test after falling England during the intra-squad practice match. This means that there will not be any worries among the England camp.

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