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Yorkshire boosted by ECB stance
10:34am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Sport
ENGLAND have given all of their senior players the chance to play at least two first-class fixtures before the start of the summer international schedule.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the availability to counties of all centrally and incrementally contracted players, with the emphasis firmly on getting the likely Test squad involved in competitive matches.
The team may not have completed their tour of New Zealand yet but the first home Test of a bumper year, against the same opposition, is already looming at Lord’s on May 16.
By the time they name a squad for that match, England’s selectors can expect to have seen plenty of all likely candidates on the domestic circuit – in some cases, going head to head.
Captain Alastair Cook, wicketkeeper Matt Prior, batsmen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott and seamers Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steven Finn have all been made available for two County Championship fixtures.
Relative newcomers Nick Compton, Joe Root and Chris Woakes have the chance to play three championship fixtures, while Durham will be able to call on Graham Onions for four games before the schedule is reassessed.
Bell, Compton, Prior, Root and Trott have also been freed to play at least one Yorkshire Bank40 match.
A second tier of players – Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, James Tredwell and Chris Tremlett – have been made available for all county cricket until further notice.
- Australian paceman Mitchell Starc is confident he will be fit for this summer’s Ashes series in England after ankle surgery.
Starc flew home from the tour of India following the third Test defeat in Mohali, after deciding to push forward an operation on his problematic ankle.
‘‘Not at all,’’ Starc said, when asked if he had any doubts over his fitness for England. ‘‘I had to come home now to get it (surgery) done ASAP, and, from the timeline that we’ve spoken about, as long as there’s no complications, then there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be 100 per cent for the Ashes.’’