ECB set to allow two overseas players per team in County Championship

ECB set to allow two overseas players per team in County Championship after Brexit with Kolpak players not eligible

  • Rule could change should Brexit make Kolpak cricketers a thing of the past
  • Kolpaks will no longer be eligible to participate here beyond the end of 2020
  • ECB are considering doubling the overseas quota in first-class competition 
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The County Championship could revert to two overseas players per team should Brexit make Kolpak cricketers a thing of the past.

As Sportsmail revealed in July, Kolpaks will no longer be eligible to participate here beyond the end of the 2020 season under the guidelines proposed by the ECB in readiness for the UK leaving the EU this year.

That cut-off date is extremely unlikely to change if any form of Brexit is formalised by October 31, although it is understood that the ECB’s cricket committee will consider doubling the overseas quota in the first-class competition so that the best players are absorbed rather than cast out.

The County Championship could revert to two overseas players per team

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The County Championship could revert to two overseas players per team

It would mean players like Simon Harmer, currently the leading wicket-taker in Division One with 65 victims for leaders Essex, could be retained in future in addition to another import. 

This season, Australia’s Peter Siddle was Essex’s primary overseas signing.

Hampshire duo Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw and Worcestershire’s Wayne Parnell are notable other South Africans here on Kolpak terms. 

Another, Duanne Olivier, has a clause in his three year Yorkshire contract that would see his status switch to overseas as soon as his current registration status changes.

The Championship last saw two overseas players per county permitted back in 2007 at a time when Kolpak registrations were on the rise. 

It would mean players like Simon Harmer could be retained in addition to another import

It would mean players like Simon Harmer could be retained in addition to another import

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It would mean players like Simon Harmer could be retained in addition to another import

Back then, the 18 first-class clubs supported the reduction partly due to it being increasingly difficult to secure the world’s leading talents on season-long contracts while a trebling of incentive payments from the ECB to produce England-qualified cricketers also had an influence.

The transition periods relating to those players who do not hold British citizenship will be discussed by the ECB over the next few weeks.

In contrast to the strict cut-off date on Kolpaks, it is anticipated that those EU passport holders who have made successful applications to remain in the UK via the Settled Status scheme will have the entire length of their existing contracts honoured.

On Monday, the 21-year-old Northamptonshire batsman Ricardo Vasconcelos – a South African who holds a Portuguese passport – superseded the two-year contract he was on at Wantage Road with one that will keep him there for the next five seasons.

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