Cricket: MacLaurin wants to ban foreigners

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The Independent Online
LORD MACLAURIN yesterday came out in favour of barring overseas stars from playing for the counties.

The England and Wales Cricket Board chairman is against an increase in the number of foreigners playing for first-class teams, and believes a ban would improve the lot of youngsters trying to make their way in the sport.

"It's my opinion that there could be a time when we don't have overseas players in our county game at all," he said.

"It's not my decision at the end of the day but they're taking the places of some of our young players coming through.

"A lot of people are coming to our county cricket and it's like a finishing school for them to go and do well for their countries.

"South African cricketers are a classic example - they come over here, play for two or three years, and suddenly become world superstars."

An attempt to ban overseas players was recently blocked by the counties, but MacLaurin told BBC Radio Five Live: "We've helped them on the way and I'm not sure we want to do that until we're top of the tree."

Coincidentally, England meet the South Africans in their next Group A World Cup game on Saturday at the Oval, a match that will have a great bearing on both countries' fortunes.

Darren Gough - who claimed 4 for 34 against Kenya to move into third place in England's list of leading one-day international wicket-takers behind Ian Botham and Phil DeFreitas with 102 victims - said: "Saturday is a massive game for us. People will be watching to see how England perform against the best one-day team in the world. If we could beat them and win three out of three it gives us a chance of getting a clean sweep.

"It probably won't knock one of the teams out but it is a chance to carry those points into the next stage, which could be very important.

"There will be a few nerves before that game, but it will be the same for them playing against England. We beat them in a Test series and they know we are a hard side and competitive."