The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has approved a recommendation to increase the number of unqualified cricketers that First-Class Counties can field in men’s county cricket from next season.

First-Class Counties will be permitted to field a total of two unqualified cricketers in the same match in the County Championship and Royal London Cup from 2021, up from the one overseas player they are currently permitted to field.

The Vitality Blast will remain unchanged, with First-Class Counties already permitted to field two such cricketers in the format.

“There is an important balance to be struck to ensure the need for good foreign players in county cricket whilst providing an opportunity for nine England-qualified players in each county tem," said Sir Andrew Strauss, Chair of the ECB's Performance Cricket Committee.

“There are clearly long-established benefits for our domestic players to compete against and learn from the best players from across the world, in addition to these players helping to provide high-quality domestic cricket for county members and fans to enjoy.

"An increase in unqualified cricketers allows First-Class Counties to maintain that standard while also enabling them to plan and prepare for next summer."