Strauss handed six-week break
Andrew Strauss has been given a complete break from all cricket until Middlesex's tour match against Sri Lanka on May 16, after the ECB responded to a gruelling winter campaign with lengthy rests for the key players who featured in both the Ashes and World Cup campaigns.
Strauss spent three days at home in five months from the team's arrival in Perth in late October through to their elimination from the World Cup in Colombo last week. In that time, he played in all but two of the team's 28 matches in all formats, including five Ashes Tests, 14 ODIs and four first-class warm-ups in Australia.
England's next international fixture is the first Test against Sri Lanka, starting in Cardiff on May 26, and in preparation, Strauss will be made available for Middlesex's three-day tour match from May 14 to 16, followed by their County Championship clash with Glamorgan on May 19 to 22.
James Anderson, who was visibly exhausted by his efforts during the winter and was dropped for the final two matches of the World Cup, will make his comeback for Lancashire against Warwickshire on May 4 to 7, and will finetune his Test preparations in the Roses match against Yorkshire, starting on May 18.
Ian Bell, the only man to play in every one of England's matches this winter, will be available to Warwickshire for three Championship fixtures, starting on May 4, as will his team-mate, Jonathan Trott. Tim Bresnan will return to action for Yorkshire against Hampshire on May 11, and Chris Tremlett for Surrey against Leicestershire on May 4, while Matt Prior and Graeme Swann will face one another at Hove when Sussex take on Nottinghamshire.
The availability of several of England's players will be determined by their recovery from injury. Ajmal Shahzad currently unavailable with a hamstring strain, while Ravi Bopara is awaiting the results of a scan to determine a side strain. Stuart Broad is currently rehabilitating after a side strain curtailed his World Cup campaign, Kevin Pietersen is resting after hernia surgery, while Paul Collingwood will undergo a minor knee operation in the near future.
Michael Yardy, who flew home from the World Cup due to depression, has been made available for all fixtures "subject to consultation between player, Sussex CCC and England medical staff". His team-mate Luke Wright has been given a break until April 26, while James Tredwell, Steven Finn and Alastair Cook will be free to play for Kent, Middlesex and Essex respectively right from the start of their campaigns - though Finn, as a fast bowler, will be assessed subject to the amount of work he is asked to do in each game.
Eoin Morgan, who is currently unavailable due to IPL commitments, will link up with Strauss in Middlesex's Championship match against Glamorgan at Lord's on May 19-21.