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County Championship Set to Revert to Two Overseas Players Rule

Duanne Olivier is among the Kolpak players in English county system currently. Source: AP Photo

Duanne Olivier is among the Kolpak players in English county system currently. Source: AP Photo

Brexit has been the talk of town in the United Kingdom, and should it make Kolpak a thing of the past, the County Championship is likely to revert to their two overseas players per team rule.

Brexit has been the talk of town in the United Kingdom, and should it make Kolpak a thing of the past, the County Championship is likely to revert to their two overseas players per team rule.

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

The cut-off date is unlikely to change if Brexit is formalized by October 31, although a report in the Daily Mail suggests that the ECB could double the overseas quota in the first-class competition.

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

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Australia’s Peter Siddle was Essex’s main overseas signing this season.

Hampshire duo Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw and Worcestershire’s Wayne Parnell are among the South Africans on Kolpak terms.

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 last time the County Championship allowed two overseas players, it was all the way back in 2007, at a time when Kolpak registrations were on the rise.

The 18 first-class clubs had backed the rule then because it was becoming difficult to secure deals for the best players.

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.