Despite the details of player qualification being elsewhere on this website, clubs are still having trouble applying them correctly. Taken from the ECB's set of Generic Rules, they are as follows:
3 Qualification of Players
3.1 Regulations Governing the Qualification of Cricketers for England
Subject to the overriding discretion of the ECB, acting with the consent of the International Cricket Council, a Cricketer will only be qualified to play for England in a Test Match or in a One Day International Match if:
(a) he is either a British citizen or an Irish citizen; and
(b1) he was born within England and Wales; or
(b2) he has been resident in England and Wales for the immediately preceding four consecutive years; and
(c) he has not during the immediately preceding four consecutive years either (i) played cricket for any Full Member Country outside the EEA at U17 level or above, or (ii) played First Class Cricket in any such Full Member Country except as an overseas cricketer under local rules similar to Regulation 3 (Unqualified Cricketers), or in any other circumstances approved by the ECB; and
(d) he makes, whenever requested by the ECB, a declaration in the form set out in Annex A to the ECB Regulations.
(e) In the case of a Cricketer seeking to become qualified under (b2) above he will (until he has become qualified to play for England) only be treated as having been resident within England and Wales for the relevant consecutive period if he has spent a minimum of 210 days in each year within England and Wales (for which purpose "year" shall mean a year ending 1st April).
The possession of a British passport DOES NOT necessarily deem the person to be a British citizen. For the purpose of these rules, passports ARE NOT taken into consideration. Citizenship is not automatically issued after four years. It is a separate issue and has to be applied for.
3.6.8 Overseas Players Resident in England
(i) A cricketer who is ordinarily resident in this country can qualify as an overseas player resident in England and play in ECB club Competitions only if:
(ii) he has been resident in this country for a period of twenty four consecutive months before the date of his request for registration
(iii) he has not been out of this country for longer than 35 days consecutively or 70 days in total during the previous twenty four months, any remuneration he receives from playing cricket is not the main source of his income.
(iv) The definition of 'ordinarily resident' shall be in the absolute discretion of the body responsible for registration of the player in the relevant Competition.
(v) Any such player MUST be properly registered with their ECB accredited Premier League or, if the club does not play in an ECB accredited Premier League, the player MUST be registered directly with the ECB Cricket Department, having completed an ECB 'Category 3 - Overseas Player' registration form. The club MUST have received the appropriate paperwork either from the League they participate in or the ECB Cricket Department showing that the player is registered PRIOR to the start of the match.
(vi) A player, who has a home in this country and has been granted "Exempt" status, who subsequently accepts a temporary work assignment, not related to cricket, in another country may apply to re-instate his previous "Exempt" status immediately on his return to this country.
(vii) Approval is at the discretion of the registration body and is not automatic.
If an overseas player, who having qualified to be a Overseas Player Resident in England, goes out of this country for more than the period permitted in (iii) above, he then reverts to being a Category 2 overseas player until such time as he re-qualifies as a Category 3.