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ECB Board approve increase in unqualified cricketers from 2021 men's county season

  • First-Class Counties can field two Unqualified cricketers in County Championship and Royal London Cup from next season
  • The Vitality Blast remains unchanged with two Unqualified cricketers already permitted in the 20-over competition
  • Performance Cricket Committee made recommendation to ensure strength of men’s county competitions

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has approved a recommendation to increase the number of Unqualified cricketers that First-Class Counties can field in men’s 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.

This represents an increase from the one Unqualified cricketer that First-Class Counties are currently permitted to field in those two competitions.

The Vitality Blast will remain unchanged, with First-Class Counties already permitted to field two Unqualified cricketers in the 20-over competition.

The ECB’s Performance Cricket Committee (PCC) made the recommendation to the ECB Board, which approved the changes this month.

PCC chair, Sir 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 allows First-Class Counties to maintain that standard while also enabling them to plan and prepare for next summer."