England news May 1, 2012

England qualification tightened

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The ECB has toughened its qualification rules for England cricketers by extending the minimum residential qualification period from four to seven years with immediate effect. The new stipulation, which has been voted in by the ECB board at Lord's, will apply to players who arrive in England and Wales after their 18th birthday.

The tighter regulations aim to put more emphasis on England players being developed through the England system, although overseas players settling in England before their 18th birthday will still only need to complete a residential qualification of four years.

The purpose of this two-tier policy is to reduce allegiances of convenience as overseas players win opportunities in county cricket and, as a result, decide to seek England qualification. But it could also conceivably force many young players approaching their 18th birthday into a premature decision about where their future lies - with South Africa bound to be particularly affected.

The ECB has long abandoned the notion of birthright, which is increasingly viewed as unsuitable to an age of global mobility, but it aims to prove a sense of belonging by the fact that players have come through the system, whether in schools, universities or cricketing academies.

As so often, ECB regulations are not as simple as they first appear. There is a rider in the case of non ICC full-member countries, where qualification can still be reduced to four years at the ECB's discretion. Cricket Ireland will be particularly disappointed by that, with its players now potentially more vulnerable to approaches than players in full-member countries.

The new rules do not apply to women cricketers.

The key provisions are as follows:

(i) All players who are already qualified for England will remain so - provided they continue to meet the existing regulations.

(ii) All players who begin residence in England or Wales before their 18th birthday will need to complete a residence period of four consecutive years.

(iii) Players who begin residence in England or Wales after their 18th birthday will need to complete a residence period of seven consecutive years. *

Full regulations

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY brittop on | May 2, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    @RandyOZ: So your parents are English or Australian. They emigrate to South Africa. You are born there, and you play your cricket there until you are, say 15. They then decide to go back to there original country, so you go with them. You carry on playing cricket and become good enough to play in tests. Which country are you eligible for?

  • POSTED BY Front_Foot_Lunge on | May 2, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    This is about time. It was getting embarrassing.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    didn't Ballance move to England just before he turned 18? and is already qualified to play for England so it's all academic anyway?

  • POSTED BY danishsyed88 on | May 1, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Disappointed with this. There shouldn't just be residency thing. They could've come up with something else. 7 yrs is just too much. I hope universities and colleges don't take the same step

  • POSTED BY AshesErnie on | May 1, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Those who confuse England with United Kingdom should try to identify their country of residence on cricinfo as England. Infuriatingly, you can't. Instead you have to use UK which satisfies almost nobody. My Scottish friends like it to be known they are Scottish, the Welsh probably have similar feelings and it's a bit bizarre that an England follower can not identify himself / herself on the world's leading cricket website as English.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    @Nas Sheikh on (May 01 2012, 14:25 PM GMT) Apart from the Mahmood's (spelt with an a) one of who was born in England and the other who has never played for England , Ravi and Samit who were both born in England and the rest who are mostly fringe one day players - your post is spot on. Surprised you forgot about Prior.@jackiethepen on (May 01 2012, 10:40 AM GMT) You're right - it probably does

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    @Christopher Sunderland on (May 01 2012, 11:56 AM GMT) But with the exception of AS none of the others had success at test level - that's the problem which is hard for certain fans to digest

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @Asrar Chowdhury on (May 01 2012, 15:01 PM GMT) Don't understand this post. 2 of them didn't play for Eng one did?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @Lord_Dravid on (May 01 2012, 15:24 PM GMT) Actually you're not quite correct there. Trott had been in England for the quota of 7 years when he made his test debut. KP would have had his debut delayed by a few years but would be in there now and Morgan (who is hardly an established member of the test side) as an Irish man , I don't think would be affected. So maybe we won't be going downhill so fast. Not as fast as some teams anyway!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Quite an amusing selection of stereotypical comments here. Thing is - as someone else put - the strength of our side is British who are all 100% born and bred. And even if the new legislation was in effect for the players we already have , none of our test players would be affected as KP and JT (the only players who took up residence in England since they were 18) have both been here for over 7 years. The only regular one day/T20 player we'd lose would be Kieswetter and there are a fair few who think Prior or Davies or even Bairstow or Buttler could do the job there. Happy days. PS - Please also remember it is the ECB that have made this decision and not the ICC so they must be fairly happy with the up and coming players we have.

  • POSTED BY brittop on | May 2, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    @RandyOZ: So your parents are English or Australian. They emigrate to South Africa. You are born there, and you play your cricket there until you are, say 15. They then decide to go back to there original country, so you go with them. You carry on playing cricket and become good enough to play in tests. Which country are you eligible for?

  • POSTED BY Front_Foot_Lunge on | May 2, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    This is about time. It was getting embarrassing.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    didn't Ballance move to England just before he turned 18? and is already qualified to play for England so it's all academic anyway?

  • POSTED BY danishsyed88 on | May 1, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Disappointed with this. There shouldn't just be residency thing. They could've come up with something else. 7 yrs is just too much. I hope universities and colleges don't take the same step

  • POSTED BY AshesErnie on | May 1, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Those who confuse England with United Kingdom should try to identify their country of residence on cricinfo as England. Infuriatingly, you can't. Instead you have to use UK which satisfies almost nobody. My Scottish friends like it to be known they are Scottish, the Welsh probably have similar feelings and it's a bit bizarre that an England follower can not identify himself / herself on the world's leading cricket website as English.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    @Nas Sheikh on (May 01 2012, 14:25 PM GMT) Apart from the Mahmood's (spelt with an a) one of who was born in England and the other who has never played for England , Ravi and Samit who were both born in England and the rest who are mostly fringe one day players - your post is spot on. Surprised you forgot about Prior.@jackiethepen on (May 01 2012, 10:40 AM GMT) You're right - it probably does

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    @Christopher Sunderland on (May 01 2012, 11:56 AM GMT) But with the exception of AS none of the others had success at test level - that's the problem which is hard for certain fans to digest

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @Asrar Chowdhury on (May 01 2012, 15:01 PM GMT) Don't understand this post. 2 of them didn't play for Eng one did?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    @Lord_Dravid on (May 01 2012, 15:24 PM GMT) Actually you're not quite correct there. Trott had been in England for the quota of 7 years when he made his test debut. KP would have had his debut delayed by a few years but would be in there now and Morgan (who is hardly an established member of the test side) as an Irish man , I don't think would be affected. So maybe we won't be going downhill so fast. Not as fast as some teams anyway!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | May 1, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Quite an amusing selection of stereotypical comments here. Thing is - as someone else put - the strength of our side is British who are all 100% born and bred. And even if the new legislation was in effect for the players we already have , none of our test players would be affected as KP and JT (the only players who took up residence in England since they were 18) have both been here for over 7 years. The only regular one day/T20 player we'd lose would be Kieswetter and there are a fair few who think Prior or Davies or even Bairstow or Buttler could do the job there. Happy days. PS - Please also remember it is the ECB that have made this decision and not the ICC so they must be fairly happy with the up and coming players we have.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    @Nas Sheikh , apart from Ravi,Samit and Sajid Mahmood being English born and bred your argument is sound,lol!

  • POSTED BY PunchDrunkPunter on | May 1, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    So this wouldn't have affected Strauss, Prior, Dernbach, Meaker, Morgan, Stokes or even Kieswetter. Only Trott and Pietersen and they have English parents! LOL!

  • POSTED BY TheReverseDoosra_K on | May 1, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    This is a good policy to implement because the local lads would get more opportunities to represent the English national side.

    @BenTanner - J Muburak has lived most of his life in SL and parents are SL, Khawaja is also a homegrown player although a Pakistani. But the teams like the US, Canada and European Countries except the UK and its territories, Middle East, Singapore are fully or mostly without a single player 'born their and also of that ethnicity'. Even Holland seem to go this way. More stricter policies must be enforced in these countries.

    @Lord_Dravid - If in Indian team, all Saffers or English play, will you support the Indian team. Think..?

  • POSTED BY Lord_Dravid on | May 1, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    now soon we'll see england cricket go downhill..it wont easily be able to import players like trott, petersen and morgan to help it stay at the top..ohh dear! :)

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    People see England having 'foreign' players. Do the names Keppler Wessels, Dav Whatmore and even Tony Greig ring any bells among a long list of others? Time can only tell what good an effect this policy will bring to England.

  • POSTED BY Randy0Z on | May 1, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Apologies jaycee71 you're right, we have plenty of "imports" too. If someone is willing to move to another country, pay taxes there and work, they should eb allowed to play for that countries cricket team.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    owais shah , sajid mehmood, azhar mehmood, ravi , samit , eoin morgan , jade dernbach , kevin peterson , andrew strauss, trott, Craig Kieswetter ,Stuart Meaker ,Michael Lumb , Ben Stokes is it the best english can produce hahahahahahahahha a team of just english speakers not english born

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | May 1, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Why will Cricket Ireland be disappointed? Their best players will continue to gain valuable experience in the English county system and ensure that Ireland remains competitive in ODIs. When they are able to establish their own first class competition and push for test status, players will presumably no longer choose to qualify for England. Only two Irish players have actually represented England in recent years, one of whom subsequently renounced his English qualification, so it's not exactly a major issue for them.

  • POSTED BY BenTanner on | May 1, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    A sample World XI, made up of players born outside the national team they represented: (and there are MANY other possible combinations!)

    1 Kevin Pietersen (SA -> Eng) 2 Jehan Mubarak (USA -> SL) 3 Usman Khawaja (Pak -> Aus) 4 Tanmay Mishra (Ind -> Ken) 5 Dean Brownlie (Aus -> NZ) 6 Brendan Nash (Aus -> WI) 7 Craig Kieswetter (SA -> Eng) 8 Neil Wagner (SA -> NZ) 9 Tanvir Ahmed (Kuwait -> Pak) 10 Paul Harris (Zim -> SA) 11 Imran Tahir (Pak -> SA)

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | May 1, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @klempie: there is no "test championship" as things stand. You are thinking of the ICC cricket rankings.

  • POSTED BY jaycee71 on | May 1, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    Ali_Chaudhary...I presume by "Pakistanis and Indian" you mean Sajid Mahmood, Monty Panesar, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel? Sorry to disappoint you, but they were all born in England, and also Scottish players (like players from Wales and Northern Ireland) are entitled to play for England because they hold UK passports (no such thing as an English passport). and to RandyOZ, how come you never mention Brendon Nash, Imran Tahir, Dean Brownlie, Kruger van Wyk? or that the Aussie and NZ rugby teams have loads of players from the South Sea Islands?

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Bad idea may be they have lost Azhar he could have played for them in T20s

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | May 1, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Bit funny that a few South African ring ins that couldn't even make their own homelands national side have helped England trounce Australia 3 times in the last 7 years. All the moaning that comes from Aussies about "non" English players is just sour grapes. You never hear them give any credit to "English" players (by their narrow jingoistic definition) anyway. I don't see a problem with any player who has citizenship of a country representing that country if they have fulfilled the national teams qualification period. To not pick on merit would be clear discrimination. Pick the best cricket team from amongst the citizens of your own country.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | May 1, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Seven years is excessive. Five would have been reasonable. This country has had a fairly easy immigration policy down the years and this is reflected in multiculturalism, and the absorption of all sorts into our society. The qualification period merely reflected this openness. Unlike Australia, which for all its origins, is a far harder place to to emigrate to. It is largely far less open and it is a miracle that Kuwaja has played for Australia; how long till the next one?? For people and to stand up and crow about how racially 'pure' their team is is a sad irony in a world which has sought since WW2 to become more not less open. Another irony is that because now SA are trying to right their problem with quotas many whites are coming here and NZ to try their luck. Many of them are talented so get noticed. Perhaps we need more not less counties so that more can play. But shutting people out is not a good solution. And idiots apart, who really objects to KP and Trott making runs?

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    The likes of Andrew Symonds, Phil Jaques and Khawaja all played for Australia. Jaques was born in Aus but has a British passport making him a local player in the county scene. Symonds, born in Birmingham, was a trouble maker and so Cricket Australia didn't like his behaviour. Khawaja's family moved to Aus when he was very young, the same thing happened to Moises Henriques who was born in Portugal. So Australia also had a few imports of their own.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    @RandyOZ ...Kepler Wessels?

  • POSTED BY Ali_Chaudhary on | May 1, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    So finally ECB wants an English team. No more saffies, Irish, 'Scotish, Pakistanis and Indian. But ECB must remember onething that those saffies and Irish won them T20 worldcup, No.1 Test rank.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    What a blow to Gary Ballance

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    I feel pity for Gary Ballance who has declined to play for Zim in favour of England

  • POSTED BY karl43 on | May 1, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    At least the poms test bowling attack is all english, the same attack which blew australia to three innings and plenty defeats..but i'm glad the ecb are tightening up their regulations but england have a history of allowing overseas players and when they were losing regularly, nobody raised an eyebrow but since they have been winning and got to No1...the knives have been out for them..go figure...

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | May 1, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    To me it suggests the opposite: a growing confidence in the current system to provide good cricketers.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    @RandyOZ - anyone who plays for England DID go through the county system. You talk about embarrassment, you're the one who's completely embarrassing yourself with your ignorance of English cricket. How's the Pakistani Khawaja doing, by the way? I've noticed you calling for his inclusion in the Australian side even though he wasn't born there. At least our "imports" can actually make the side.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    @klempie - Or not, considering their main strength has been their bowlers, all of whom were born in England. Not forgetting all the runs scored by the English-born Alastair Cook. Or all of the English-born talents on the county circuit. I wonder if New Zealand will be implementing similar rules, considering how many South Africans they have in their international set-up currently.

  • POSTED BY mikecarter on | May 1, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Looks like the Poms will be dropping back to the mid-table positions of the Test Championship sooner than we thought.... :..

    Change the record. Of the team that hammered Australia in Sydney 2011...

    Strauss - Moved to England aged 6 Cook - Born in England Trott - Settled in England 2000. Didn't play test cricket until 2009 anyway. Pietersen - Moved to England in 2001 Anderson - Born in England Collingwood - Born in England Bell - Born in England Prior - Moved to England aged 11 Bresnan - Born in England Swann - Born in England Tremlett - Born in England

    Unlikely to be dropping back anytime soon then.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | May 1, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    The United XI have long been an embarassment to world cricket, and these rules still alllow rampant poaching to occur, just more so towards more guliable younger players. The ICC needs to step in here and stamp out the practice for good; unless you went through that country's system, you don't get a gig.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | May 1, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Finally the ECB have realised how much of a joke the United XI has become! Not that this will help matters, they will just start poaching younger players.

  • POSTED BY Stumay on | May 1, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Klempie, yeah because Cook and Broad and Tremlett and Finn and Anderson and Bell and Bresnan and Swann are all foreign aren't they.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | May 1, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I'm not sure why Ireland would be especially perturbed as basically the rules for them are still as they were. It's not like they have reduced the qualification period for Irish players. Despite what some people would like to think, it's not like England are out there recruiting overseas players and they will now turn their attention increasingly to Irish players because players from elsewhere are harder to come by. Players like Trott and Pietersen chose England mostly based on their own English heritage and, if there was any recruiting done, it was done at the county level. Irish players will always be "vulnerable" because pretty much all decent Irish players are playing FC in England anyway and it's a much easier decision to move to England than from, say, SA. Much easier to nip home whenever you feel like it. The sooner Ireland has its own FC competition the sooner it can show its players that it's serious about Test status, but it's still too late for the current crop.

  • POSTED BY duncanmoo on | May 1, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    This is good for English cricket, let the national side represent the nation! I am amazed it took this long for them to make this rule change.

  • POSTED BY klempie on | May 1, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Looks like the Poms will be dropping back to the mid-table positions of the Test Championship sooner than we thought.... :)

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  • POSTED BY klempie on | May 1, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Looks like the Poms will be dropping back to the mid-table positions of the Test Championship sooner than we thought.... :)

  • POSTED BY duncanmoo on | May 1, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    This is good for English cricket, let the national side represent the nation! I am amazed it took this long for them to make this rule change.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | May 1, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I'm not sure why Ireland would be especially perturbed as basically the rules for them are still as they were. It's not like they have reduced the qualification period for Irish players. Despite what some people would like to think, it's not like England are out there recruiting overseas players and they will now turn their attention increasingly to Irish players because players from elsewhere are harder to come by. Players like Trott and Pietersen chose England mostly based on their own English heritage and, if there was any recruiting done, it was done at the county level. Irish players will always be "vulnerable" because pretty much all decent Irish players are playing FC in England anyway and it's a much easier decision to move to England than from, say, SA. Much easier to nip home whenever you feel like it. The sooner Ireland has its own FC competition the sooner it can show its players that it's serious about Test status, but it's still too late for the current crop.

  • POSTED BY Stumay on | May 1, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Klempie, yeah because Cook and Broad and Tremlett and Finn and Anderson and Bell and Bresnan and Swann are all foreign aren't they.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | May 1, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Finally the ECB have realised how much of a joke the United XI has become! Not that this will help matters, they will just start poaching younger players.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | May 1, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    The United XI have long been an embarassment to world cricket, and these rules still alllow rampant poaching to occur, just more so towards more guliable younger players. The ICC needs to step in here and stamp out the practice for good; unless you went through that country's system, you don't get a gig.

  • POSTED BY mikecarter on | May 1, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Looks like the Poms will be dropping back to the mid-table positions of the Test Championship sooner than we thought.... :..

    Change the record. Of the team that hammered Australia in Sydney 2011...

    Strauss - Moved to England aged 6 Cook - Born in England Trott - Settled in England 2000. Didn't play test cricket until 2009 anyway. Pietersen - Moved to England in 2001 Anderson - Born in England Collingwood - Born in England Bell - Born in England Prior - Moved to England aged 11 Bresnan - Born in England Swann - Born in England Tremlett - Born in England

    Unlikely to be dropping back anytime soon then.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    @klempie - Or not, considering their main strength has been their bowlers, all of whom were born in England. Not forgetting all the runs scored by the English-born Alastair Cook. Or all of the English-born talents on the county circuit. I wonder if New Zealand will be implementing similar rules, considering how many South Africans they have in their international set-up currently.

  • POSTED BY on | May 1, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    @RandyOZ - anyone who plays for England DID go through the county system. You talk about embarrassment, you're the one who's completely embarrassing yourself with your ignorance of English cricket. How's the Pakistani Khawaja doing, by the way? I've noticed you calling for his inclusion in the Australian side even though he wasn't born there. At least our "imports" can actually make the side.

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | May 1, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    To me it suggests the opposite: a growing confidence in the current system to provide good cricketers.