England's home season in 2017 has been confirmed as the longest in their international history, after the ECB announced a glut of fixtures spanning 148 days and featuring both the earliest start date, May 5, and the latest finish, September 29.
South Africa and West Indies are lined up for full tours in an unprecedented summer that will also feature the ECB's hosting of the Champions Trophy in early to mid-June, and the women's World Cup between June 26 and July 23..
The previous earliest start to an English summer was May 6, when England and West Indies embarked on that summer's first Test at Lord's. The latest finish also involved West Indies, when they beat England in the final of the Champions Trophy on September 25, 2004.
England men's summer will be launched by a two-match ODI series against Ireland, at Bristol and Lord's on May 5 and 7, before the arrival of South Africa's ODI squad for three matches - at Headingley, Ageas Bowl and Lord's - on May 24, 27 and 29, which will serve as warm-up fixtures for the Champions Trophy, which opens with England's match against Bangladesh at the Kia Oval on June 1.
After the tournament, which concludes with a final at The Oval on June 18, England and South Africa play three T20Is - including their first international fixture at Taunton since 1983 - before attention switches to seven Test matches in the space of 67 days.
South Africa are lined up for four matches, starting at Lord's on July 6 then proceeding to Trent Bridge, The Oval and Old Trafford, before West Indies commence a three-Test series on August 17.
That opening fixture, at Edgbaston, has been mooted as England's first home day/night fixture, although the ECB as yet has not clarified its status. Further matches are scheduled for Headingley and Lord's, before a one-off T20I followed by five ODIs, with the home summer set to finish at the Ageas Bowl on September 29.
"With three different international teams coming here next summer and this country playing host to two major ICC global events - the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Women's World Cup - there will be a feast of international cricket to excite us in England and Wales," said Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive.
"Both the international and the domestic schedule will have a different shape to previous years. And the early season block for the Royal London One-Day Cup - with a new mid-season date for its Lord's final - will support both England's ICC Champions Trophy preparations and our longer term planning for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. It will also allow players to focus skills on the white ball game and help more people to understand the structure of the season.
"It promises to be a memorable summer of cricket for all our international grounds and a particularly special one for Somerset CCC which will host its first England men's fixture for more than thirty years; a great opportunity for the county to further capitalise on its strong support for England women's cricket in recent years."
Edgbaston will once again host NatWest T20 Blast Finals day while the Royal London One-Day Cup Final has been brought forward from its traditional mid-September date to a new mid-summer slot in early July.