London - Overseas born players wishing to represent England now face an extended qualification period of seven years, an increase on the existing four year term, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Monday.
The new regulation is to apply to all male cricketers who begin residence in England after their 18th birthday. For those living in England before they are 18, the period of qualification will be four years.
According to an ECB statement, the new qualification regulations will be deemed to have been effective as of April 25, 2012.
The English have come under fire, both from within their own cricket community and from abroad, particularly in Australia and South Africa, for fielding several players in recent years who were born overseas but qualified for their adopted nation under the four year-rule.
For example, South Africa-born batsman Kevin Pietersen, whose mother is English, played five seasons for county side Nottinghamshire before making his England international debut in 2004.
The amendment cannot be applied retrospectively and allows for ECB discretion to reduce the residence period to four years for prospective players who either hail originally from a country which is a non-International Cricket Council full member or who arrived in England before April 25.
That caveat could, possibly, apply to Irish players aiming to follow the same path as Dublin-born Middlesex and England batsman Eoin Morgan.