Gillespie, Bond and Marshall cleared for season
Shane Bond, Jason Gillespie and Hamish Marshall are among a raft of overseas players who been given clearance by the ECB to play in county cricket this season, ending weeks of speculation over whether they would be permitted to join after playing in the unauthorised Indian Cricket League.
The ECB's ruling was disclosed after a meeting on Tuesday. It had originally said that no overseas players would be allowed without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their home board, effectively ruling out anyone who had signed with the ICL.
However, Gillespie is no longer an Australia player, so he didn't need an NOC from Cricket Australia, as a spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo. "We have not issued an NOC to Jason Gillespie as he is no longer contracted in Australia and so CA has no jurisdiction to grant or withhold consent to him playing anywhere else in the world."
Bond missed New Zealand's recent Test series against England, but will now turn out for Hampshire as a designated overseas player, as opposed to a Kolpak signing. He steps into the shoes of Hampshire's former captain, Shane Warne, who announced his first-class retirement at the end of last month.
Marshall, meanwhile, has been allowed to register for Gloucestershire this season, subject to receipt of the necessary paperwork. His application as a Kolpak player had initially been refused because he last played for New Zealand on April 8, 2007, during the latter stages of the World Cup. The cut-off date for applicants was April 1, but in his instance the ECB were willing to exercise their discretion.
"We are delighted that Hamish can play," said Gloucestershire's chairman, Tom Richardson. "We can now kick off the season with a full batting line up." Marshall himself was equally relieved. "I am extremely pleased that my registration has been approved by the ECB," he said. "It has been a weight on my shoulders for the last couple of weeks and I am pleased I can now concentrate on my cricket and help make this a great year for Gloucestershire."
Gillespie, whose Cricket Australia contract was obviously not renewed on Wednesday after announcing his retirement from state and international cricket, is now likely to make his Glamorgan debut against Middlesex at Lord's on April 23. He has previously played for Yorkshire.
The ECB could still get a frosty telephone call from the Indian board which has demanded that no ICL-contracted players should be allowed to play anywhere in the world.
The ECB decided not to exercise its discretion in the cases of four other players - Wavell Hinds, Johan Van der Wath, Andrew Hall and Justin Kemp - all of whom had applied to play as Kolpaks, but failed to meet the necessary criteria.
Kent, who are keen on Kemp, said they would appeal. "We intend to lodge an appeal with the ECB and we expect Justin to travel to the UK to present his case in person," Kent's chief executive Paul Millman told AFP. "He remains totally committed to a long-term career with Kent and we are determined to make it clear to the ECB that English county cricket is his priority."
Cleared to play Hamish Marshall (Gloucestershire), Jason Gillespie (Glamorgan), Shane Bond (Hampshire), Saqlain Mushtaq (Surrey), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Johan Louw (Northants), Alfonso Thomas (Somerset), Dominic Telo (Derbyshire), Ryan Harris (Sussex), Pedro Collins (Surrey)