The ECB has increased the number of overseas players allowed in a match to two per side in the County Championship and One-Day Cup from 2021.
Previously, teams were only able to field one overseas player, although those on Kolpak registrations did not count towards the allocation. Meanwhile, the T20 Blast remains unchanged, with two overseas cricketers already permitted in the 20-over competition.
The ECB’s performance cricket committee, chaired by Andrew Strauss, made the recommendation to the ECB board, which approved the proposal.
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.”
The news will be welcomed by those on Kolpak deals. The 2021 season will be the first since 2003 without Kolpak cricketers after the ECB ruled they will no longer be counted as local players following Brexit. An increase in the number of overseas slots means they will now have a greater chance of earning deals.