Cricket news - ECB approves increase in unqualified cricketers

The decision follows a recommendation from the Performance Cricket Committee chaired by Andrew Strauss

The decision follows a recommendation from the Performance Cricket Committee chaired by Andrew Strauss

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday (July 3) approved a recommendation from the Performance Cricket Committee (PCC) to allow an increase in the number of unqualified cricketers that counties can field in men's county cricket. The change will come into effect next season onwards.

The PCC made the recommendation to "ensure strength of men's county competitions" an ECB release stated. "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." the release added - an increase from the one that is currently permitted.

The 20-over competition - the Vitality Blast - however, remains unchanged with two already permitted in it.

"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," Andrew Strauss, the PCC chair, said. "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," he added.