The Indian cricket board on Saturday decided to allow international players to take part in its first-class domestic championship starting this year.
The technical committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is chaired by batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, said state sides were now free to include one foreigner in their ranks for the Ranji Trophy contest.
"The state associations will be allowed to include four guest players in their squad," board secretary Niranjan Shah said in a press release.
"One of these four players could be a cricketer from overseas who has played at least ten Tests and/or twenty one-day internationals."
The Ranji Trophy is the country's premier inter-state competition and a good performance here often makes a case for selection to the national squad.
Former England batsman Denis Compton and West Indian pacer Roy Gilchrist had played in the Ranji Trophy during India's pre-independence period but the trend was done away with later on.
The BCCI had been mulling such a move for the past two years in the wake of dwindling spectator interest and almost negligible TV viewership.