>The news so far hasn't mentioned Yorkshire, only Lancashire. Their main
>objection was that it costs money to get overseas players who then miss half
>of the matches that they should be playing because they're playing for their
>countries on tour. Granted that players who play for England also miss a few
>matches, but at least the only times they tour abroad is outside of the
>English cricket season. I don't know if I support this or not. There are
>good arguments on both sides. Overseas players can add a lot of e***ment
>to the game, but not if they're hardly ever playing.
This is entirely correct. The situation today is totally different than just
a few years ago, with three new test playing countries - Zimbabwe, South
Africa and Sri Lanka (OK, they're not that new but they've only just started
scheduling tours in July-Aug) - all of whom have the weather and the resources
to play cricket in August and September, or in the case of SL even June-July.
This impacts the overseas player market in two ways:
- there are no "guaranteed" players available. In the 70s and 80s if you
signed a South African you know he'd be available every season, for the
full season. This is no longer the case.
- overseas players will now be required more and more often by their
countries for tours, or to prepare for tours, in the middle of the
The effect has already been felt in club cricket - English club teams will
rarely sign a top Indian or Pakistani player as their overseas professional,
mainly because they're normally required back in their own country well
before September. In county cricket, the problem will continue to grow.
Remember, England are unique; the only northern hemisphere country to
play test cricket and the only country that places such a high emphasis
on domestic competitions that they will not organise overseas tours by
their national team during their season. Other countries do not have
sympathy with this approach and will continue to make increasing demands
on their own star players.
In the current situation, where county sides may only sign one overseas player
at a time and the regulations for their registration are tightly controlled,
the problems raised by Lancashire are inevitable. Personally, I think overseas
players are a good thing - dropping them will only decrease standards further
(no player good enough to play for England will be kept out of their county
side by an overseas player) and after all, young players cannot help but learn
from experiences like, for example, facing Ambrose on a bouncy pitch at the
Maybe a solution would be to relax the registration rules (eg allow two or
even three overseas players per side), but place some restrictions on overseas
player salary levels. This would reduce the dependence on the "star" overseas
players while at the same time retaining the positive aspects of having them
in county cricket.