The ECB announce all their Test players will be able to play for their counties at some point this summer.
Central contracts for England’s senior cricketers mean they very rarely get to play for their domestic sides during the English summer.
However, the ECB have decided that even the most key players will be able to play at least two County Championship fixtures before Test cricket starts again.
There is a break between England’s current series in New Zealand and the return visit of the Kiwis in May, meaning national players have the opportunity to play domestically in April.
Captain Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott will be able to play in two county matches, whilst Nick Compton, Joe Root and Chris Woakes are available to play in three.
The ECB have decided Graham Onions will be able to play in four whilst a second tier of players – including Jonny Bairstow and Monty Panesar – have been told they can play in all county cricket until further notice.
An injury to Kevin Pietersen’s knee means he is out of all cricket for six to eight weeks but he would not have taken part in the County Championship anyway as he is one of only three Englishmen committed to an IPL franchise – the fixtures of which take place during April and May.
The other two players, Eoin Morgan and Owais Shah, are not currently in the England setup in any case.