The majority of England’s centrally contracted players will be available to play for their counties in the early stages of the Specsavers County Championship and the Royal London One-Day Cup this spring.
That means Essex’s return to Division One of the Championship against Lancashire at the Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford is set to include an intriguing individual battle between Alastair Cook and James Anderson, with Haseeb Hameed and his fellow Lions tourists Liam Livingstone and Tom Westley also involved.
Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Jake Ball, Alex Hales, Steven Finn, Mark Wood, Keaton Jennings, Liam Dawson, James Vince and the Yorkshire quintet of Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, David Willey and the newly-appointed England Test captain Joe Root will also be available to make at least one appearance in the opening three rounds of Championship matches.
Then all of them have been made available for the opening three rounds of matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup, which has been brought forward in the season this year building to a final at Lord’s on Saturday 1 July.
That means Broad, Ball and Hales are set to face Moeen when Notts Outlaws play Worcestershire Rapids in the first round of matches in the North Group on 27 April.
Bairstow, Root, Plunkett, Rashid and Willey will all be available for Yorkshire Vikings’ first three games in the tournament – against the Outlaws at Trent Bridge on 29 April, and the home games at Headingley against Lancashire Lightning on Bank Holiday Monday (1 May, live on Sky Sports), and Durham on 3 May.
Eight players - Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes – are unavailable to their counties in the early weeks of the season having signed to play in the Indian Premier League.
Four other players - Root, Bairstow, Moeen and Ball - will miss their counties’ opening Championship matches after especially busy winters, and with England’s schedule for the summer of 2017 and beyond in mind.
England player availability
Jimmy Anderson (Lancashire) – Specsavers County Championship match against Essex (7-10 April) and Somerset (21-24 April); Royal London One-Day Cup matches against Leicestershire Foxes (28 April) & Yorkshire Vikings (1 May).
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire) - SCC v Leicestershire (7-10 April) & Sussex (21-24 April); RLODC v Worcestershire Rapids (27 April), Yorkshire Vikings (29 April) & Derbyshire Falcons (2 May).
Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire) - SCC v Durham (14-17 April) & Sussex (21-24 April); RLODC v Worcestershire Rapids (27 April), Yorkshire Vikings (29 April) & Derbyshire Falcons (2 May).
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire) - SCC v Northamptonshire (21-24 April); RLODC v Notts Outlaws (27 April), Leicestershire Foxes (30 April) and Northants Steelbacks (3 May).
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire) – SCC v Hampshire (21-24 April); RLODC v Notts Outlaws (29 April), Lancashire Lightning (1 May) and Durham (3 May).
Joe Root (Yorkshire) – same as Bairstow.
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire) – SCC v Warwickshire (14-17 April) & Hampshire (21-24 April); RLODC v Notts Outlaws (29 April), Lancashire Lightning (1 May) and Durham (3 May).
Keaton Jennings, Mark Wood (both Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Liam Dawson, James Vince (both Hampshire), Haseeb Hameed (Lancashire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Gary Ballance, Liam Plunkett, David Willey (all Yorkshire) – available for all matches.