County hope that Zimbabwean will qualify under Kolpak ruling February 23, 2005

Goodwin agrees new deal with Sussex - as a Kolpak player

Cricinfo staff

Murray Goodwin has agreed a three-year deal with Sussex, and the club hope that they will be able to register him as a Kolpak player. The top-oder batsman Goodwin, 32, has been Sussex's overseas player for the past four seasons but the county are confident that he will be able to qualify for Kolpak status and so free up one of their two overseas berths. "All indications are that this [Kolpak registration] will not be a problem," Sussex said in a statement, "and we are expecting confirmation anytime."

Under the Kolpak scheme, introduced in 1993, anyone with a work permit from a country with an associate trading agreement with the European Union can have the same rights as a European worker and so can play in England without being classed as overseas. This fuelled concerns that Kolpak players would clog up the county system, but the ECB responded by proposing an incentive scheme where counties face financial penalties if certain criteria are unfulfilled, such as how many England-qualified players they produce.

Conscious of such financial implications, Sussex's director of cricket Peter Moores responded: "Our decision to sign Murray as a Kolpak player was not taken lightly due to the need to keep places available for our own home-grown players." But he went on to underline that Goodwin's achievements at Sussex were impressive enough to warrant taking him on under Kolpak conditions. "Murray's commitment to the club and his ability as a player are without question and we are delighted that he has decided to commit to us for the foreseeable future."

After a prolific season for Sussex in 2001, Goodwin became an instant legend two years later when he scored a club-record 335 not out against Leicestershire to seal Sussex's first Championship title in their 164-year history. Meanwhile, Sussex confirmed that an announcement regarding the overseas players will be made in a few weeks' time.