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Loan system agreed for county cricket

County cricketers could represent two teams in a season under a new loan system that has been agreed between the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) and the ECB, in an attempt to curb the influx of foreign players into the county game.

The initial loan period will be four weeks but the players' original county will be able to recall the player if he is guaranteed a first-team place. This new system is similar to the loan system in football, which is used extensively by the larger clubs who loan out their younger players so they can be involved in first-team matches.

Richard Bevan, the PCA's chief executive said told The Daily Telegraph: "We believe that making it easier for counties to sign loan players is one of the steps towards getting the right balance of England qualified players in county cricket."

Nottinghamshire could be one of the first counties to take advantage of this new system. They are searching for a replacement to cover the injured Charlie Shreck, who has been ruled out of action until July with a stress fracture of the back. Off all the 18 first-class counties, Glamorgan are the only one not to have followed the popular method of signing a foreign player with a European passport or under the Kolpak ruling.

The new loan system was agreed at the PCA's AGM at Edgbaston, on Thursday, which was attended by over 200 cricketers. The current system of a three-up and three-down county championship was debated, with 90% saying they would like to see this reduced to a movement of two counties from each division. But the ECB's central contracts system was given another vote of confidence, 88% said they had had a positive impact on the game.