Six members of the England Test squad who will shortly head home from New Zealand have been made available to get straight back into action for the start of the Specsavers County Championship season over the next couple of weeks.
James Vince and Liam Livingstone are due to be the first to enter the fray, with their counties in action in the opening round of Division One fixtures which start on Friday week – Vince for Hampshire against newly-promoted Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl, and Livingstone in his new role as Lancashire captain at home to Nottinghamshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Then Mark Stoneman and Ben Foakes are set to face Vince’s Hampshire when Surrey begin their Division One campaign at the Kia Oval on Friday April 20 – when the Somerset pair of Craig Overton and Jack Leach will make their first county appearances as England players at home to Worcestershire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
All six players will remain available for the three further rounds of Championship matches that are played before the start of the Royal London One-Day Cup on May 17.
They will be joined from the start of the season by two members of England’s most recent one-day squad – Yorkshire all-rounder David Willey, and the captain Eoin Morgan.
Morgan’s new Middlesex captain Dawid Malan will be available from their third match of the season in Division Two, against Glamorgan at the SSE SWALEC from April 27.
Stuart Broad has also been made available to play for Nottinghamshire from April 27, when they face Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road, and Jonny Bairstow and the England Test captain Joe Root have been made available for two potential blockbuster Division One fixtures against the champions Essex at the Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford from May 4, and at the Kia Oval against Surrey from May 11.
Alastair Cook will be available for Essex from their game at Hampshire on April 27, setting up a potential head-to-head with Root and Bairstow in Chelmsford.
The England management have yet to make a decision on the early-season availability of Jimmy Anderson for Lancashire.
Full England player availability for the early stages of the Specsavers County Championship:
Alastair Cook (Essex) – available for Specsavers County Championship matches against Hampshire (April 27-30), Yorkshire (May 4-7) and Worcestershire (May 11-14).
James Vince (Hants) – available for all games from April 13 (but not v Oxford MCCU April 7-9).
Liam Livingstone (Lancs) – available for all games from April 13 (but not v Loughborough MCCU April 7-9). Jimmy Anderson (Lancs) – tbc.
Dawid Malan (Middlesex) – available for Specsavers County Championship matches against Glamorgan (27-30 April), Sussex (4-7 May), and Gloucestershire (11-14 May). Eoin Morgan (Middlesex) – available for all matches.
Stuart Broad (Notts) – available for Specsavers County Championship matches against Worcestershire (27-30 April), Hampshire (4-7 May) and Lancashire (11-14 May).
Mark Stoneman and Ben Foakes (Surrey) – available for all games from April 20 (but not v Cambridge MCCU April 13-15).
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (Yorks) – available for Specsavers County Championship matches against Essex (4-7 May) and Surrey (11-14 May). Liam Plunkett, Gary Ballance, and David Willey (Yorks) – available for all matches.
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) and Mark Wood (Durham) are all unavailable for the start of the season having signed to play in the Indian Premier League. Players selected for the first Test of the summer against Pakistan which starts at Lord’s on May 24 have been told by the ECB that they are expected to return by May 17, with availability for Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures to be confirmed nearer the time.
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