England’s first-class county teams will be allowed to field two, rather than one, overseas-registered player in next season’s domestic championship and Royal London Cup, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday.
The decision was made by the ECB’s Board after a recommendation by the Performance Cricket Committee.
“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,” the ECB’s Performance Cricket Committee (PCC) chair Andrew Strauss said in a statement.
“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.”
Counties have been allowed only one ‘unqualified’ player on the pitch since the rule was changed for the 2008 season, partly to offer more first-team opportunities for young players eligible to play for England.
The change will not affect the Vitality Blast T20 competition which already allows teams to field two foreign players.