England player availability March 26, 2008

Hoggard and Harmison back to county scene

Cricinfo staff

Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard will have the opportunity to fight for their England places from the start of the domestic season after being released to their counties for all the matches ahead of the first Test against New Zealand on May 15.

Most of the players who have been involved throughout the winter are given some extra time off, although Ian Bell is available for Warwickshire's first Championship match against Worcestershire on April 16.

Kevin Pietersen won't appear for Hampshire until the Friends Provident Trophy match against Somerset on May 2 while Paul Collingwood is also rested until that Bank Holiday weekend. Michael Vaughan has been made available for all Yorkshire's first-class matches ahead of the first Test.

Given that it is England's one-day cricket that needs developing it is interesting that Bell and Alastair Cook have only been released for County Championship matches and not FP Trophy games. Tim Ambrose, Monty Panesar, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and James Anderson are all rested from the first round of Championship matches.

Owais Shah, Andrew Strauss, Phil Mustard and Graeme Swann are also available to their counties from the start of the season.