Jake Ball, Steven Finn, Keaton Jennings, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood are all set to join the action in the Specsavers County Championship this Easter weekend – but the England management have declined a request from Nottinghamshire for Stuart Broad to play in their Division Two fixture at Durham.
Broad, and his England new-ball partner James Anderson, have both been made available to their counties for the first and third games of the season – but not the second.
So Anderson will sit out Lancashire’s Division One game against Surrey at the Kia Oval but is available for their first home game of the season against Somerset starting at Emirates Old Trafford on April 21, and Broad will be available for Nottinghamshire’s home game against Sussex starting on the same day.
“We have to recognise the demands of the International programme over the next 12 months, with seven Tests in 10 weeks from July followed by another seven in Australia and New Zealand over the winter,” said Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s director, England cricket.
“We have to manage all our players and especially our bowlers accordingly. Both Stuart and Jimmy are committed to their counties and keen to play as much possible. But equally they recognise both the challenges and demands to come over the summer.
“A plan for availability for the early-season fixtures has been put together in consultation with the players, and counties were made aware of the likely schedule back in January.
“Stuart bowled 21 overs for Nottinghamshire at Leicestershire, and Jimmy bowled 42 for Lancashire at Essex, so it makes sense for us to stick to the original plan of them taking a week’s break before returning for the third round of Championship fixtures. They will also be available for further Championship matches as well as the early stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.”
It’s a case of one in, one out for Nottinghamshire’s pace bowling options against Durham at the Emirates Riverside, as Ball will be available after England asked him to delay the start of his domestic campaign.
Alex Hales is also available to Nottinghamshire in all early-season fixtures in both the Championship and the One-Day Cup, and the same goes for Jennings and Wood as Durham make a delayed start to their Division Two campaign after missing the first round of fixtures.
Finn has been made available for all Middlesex’s matches, starting on Friday when they launch their defence of the Specsavers County Championship against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Alastair Cook has also been made available for Essex’s matches, although his availability for their trip to Somerset will depend on his recovery from the hip problem that ruled him out of their first match back in Division One against Lancashire.
Rashid is available to make his first appearance of the season for Yorkshire in their Division One match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. David Willey and Liam Plunkett were made available from the start of the season although both were ruled out of Yorkshire’s opening match against Hampshire because of injury, and Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will be available for the return match against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl starting on Friday week – as well as the Vikings’ opening three matches in the RLODC, against Notts Outlaws, Lancashire Lightning and Durham.
Moeen Ali is not available for Worcestershire’s opening Championship game in Division Two at Glamorgan, but is set to make his first appearance of the season at home to Northamptonshire next week – and is also available for the Rapids’ first three games in the RLODC.