ECB approves increase in unqualified cricketers from next season

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has approved a recommendation from the Performance Cricket Committee (PCC) to increase the number of unqualified cricketers that first-class counties can field in mens county cricket from next season.

“First-class counties will be permitted to field a total of two unqualified cricketers in the same match in the County Championship and Royal London Cup from 2021,” ECB said in a statement on Friday. The release added – an increase from the one that is currently permitted.

The T20 Vitality Blast competition will remain unchanged, with two unqualified cricketers already permitted in the competition.

PCC chair Andrew Strauss 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 allow first-class counties to maintain that standard while also enabling them to plan and prepare for next summer,” he added.