Boards meet to tackle Kolpak concerns

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The ECB has held a meeting with its South African counterparts to discuss a solution to the growing problem of the number of Kolpak players in county cricket.

The get-together follows hot on the heels of last week’s memo to all county chairmen advising that the ECB was clamping down on registrations and insisting they ensure that any Kolpak players had the correct work permits.

A report in The Daily Telegraph claims that the two boards discussed two possible ways to tackle the problem.

One was to make it harder for players to represent another national team after they had represented their country at a certain age-group, probably Under-19s. The other was a tightening of permit regulations, so that players would necessarily have played a certain number of first-class matches - possibly as many as 50 - before being allowed to play first-class cricket in England.

Whichever route the boards want to go down, they will need to persuade the ICC of the merits of any action. The ICC executive board needs seven votes out of the ten members to pass the motion.

Although a fortnight ago Haroon Lorgat, South Africa’s head of selectors, publicly endorsed South African players using the Kolpak loophole to play in England, it is believed that the board are worried at the player drain as much as the ECB are concerned at the number of players currently in county cricket.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was Warwickshire’s signing of Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who turned his back on South Africa after not being picked for the national side as quickly as he wanted. That brought home to the South African board the danger of home-grown talent being allowed to drain away.

Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, told Cricinfo that the only real solution was to penalise the counties financially for picking Kolpak players. “The only real factor in this day and age is money,” he said. “Cash is king.”

As for van Jaarsveld, the future is uncertain. He signed for Warwickshire three weeks ago professing that his aim was “to play for England”. It now seems he might struggle to play for his county. He is still waiting to be granted a work permit, and that has already been turned down as he has not played in England in the previous two seasons. Warwickshire are looking at exploiting another loophole which might allow him to play 20 hours of county cricket per week.

It may well be that just as the name Kolpak became synonymous for changing the face of county cricket, that of van Jaarsveld might have been the watershed.

Source:Cricket News

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