In the past 5 years, a slow trickle of foreign players have made use of a European ruling known as Kolpak to play county cricket – none of them eligible to play for the English national game. At last, Lord’s appears to have cottoned onto this and next month are expected to announce performance-related pay scheme. The figures, in this Mirror article, are startling:
This summer, no fewer than 70 first-class county cricketers will NOT be eligible to play for England – around 20 per cent of the combined playing staffs.
I hadn’t realised it had reached 20% – that’s absolutely disgraceful. Soon though, counties like Notts (who have 7 players who are NOT eligible to play for England) won’t receive their payout from Lord’s and will possibly face bankruptcy, unless they start picking English and Welsh players.
My main problem is obvious: they’re not using young, English talent. I don’t fully understand why, either, because it must be cheaper for counties to sign a promising 17 year-old than a 28 year-old foreigner. That 17 year old prospect could eventually become a national star, which would then drive back revenue to the club and so on. So – great news.
Update: better article at The Telegraph