England players released for county action
Vaughan, who was desperately short of runs during the World Cup until his 79 against West Indies in England's final match, will take on Scotland in the Friends Provident Trophy before his first Championship match on May 2 against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl. He will have a maximum of two four-day games and two Friends Provident outings before leading England in the first Test at Lord's on May 17.
Flintoff and Pietersen have less action with a single one-day match alongside their Championship head-to-head. It will be Pietersen's first first-class match for Hampshire since 2005 and Flintoff only made one appearance for Lancashire last summer.
Of the other centrally contracted players who were at the World Cup, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood are available for their counties from May 7 until the end of the Championship matches on May 12. Andrew Strauss can turn out for Middlesex from May 6, while Monty Panesar has been given two Championship matches - against Essex and Somerset - but no one-day cricket before the first Test.
Alastair Cook, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Marcus Trescothick have already begun their seasons, after not being part of the World Cup, although Jones has been left out of Glamorgan's squad to face Essex as he manages his return from injury.
Lancashire pace bowlers James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood have been given two weeks rest despite not being contracted. They are both available to feature against Hampshire alongside Flintoff, while Mahmood can also play against Northamptonshire on May 6 and Anderson against Durham on May 7.
The non-centrally contracted England players' availability is as follows:
Ed Joyce, Jamie Dalrymple, Paul Nixon and Ravi Bopara will all be free for the Friends Provident ties this Sunday. If Stuart Broad passes a fitness test on a minor injury he will also be available for Leicestershire, alongside Nixon.
Lancashire will have Saj Mahmood from May 6, when they play Northants in the Friends Provident, and James Anderson will be free the very next day, against Durham in the same competition. Liam Plunkett also makes his county return in that match.