England news May 1, 2012

England qualification tightened


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

  • Phil 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?

  • Matt on May 2, 2012, 1:31 GMT

    This is about time. It was getting embarrassing.

  • Dummy4 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?

  • Danish 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

  • Richard 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.

  • John 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

  • John 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

  • John 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?

  • John 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!

  • John 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.

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