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Harry Brook, Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson released for Finals Day by England

Finals Day "not diminished in any way" by absence of ODI stars, insists Somerset captain Tom Abell

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Harry Brook and Phil Salt punch gloves  •  Getty Images

Harry Brook and Phil Salt punch gloves  •  Getty Images

Harry Brook, Phil Salt and Matt Parkinson will be available to play for their counties on T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday after being released by England's ODI squad.
The semi-finals and final of the Blast are all staged on the same day but player availability has been limited this year by a clash with England's series against India. The third ODI takes place in Manchester on Sunday, barely 12 hours after the final is scheduled to finish in Birmingham.
As a result, six players who have been involved in the series have effectively been ruled out of Finals Day: Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone (both Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, and David Willey (all Yorkshire).
The ODI series had initially been due to finish on July 14 at Lord's, which would have allowed any England players involved to appear for their counties on Finals Day. But the rescheduled fifth Test from last summer's series squeezed the white-ball leg of the series into a shorter window, prompting a clash with the knockout stages of the Blast.
Brook, Salt and Parkinson remain available for the third ODI but England are expected to name an unchanged side. "The trio will travel to Edgbaston today to join their respective counties before returning to the England squad ahead of the third Royal London International at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday," the ECB said in a statement.
"There's obviously so much cricket, especially with the international schedule and the Hundred now as well, but the Blast can still take pride of place," Tom Abell, Somerset's captain, said. "In a perfect world, of course, the England players and the best players are involved, but I certainly don't think it's as simple as that: those guys are playing so much cricket, they could probably benefit from little breaks here and there as well.
"Everyone wants to see the best players and the England players on these sorts of stages and involved in occasions like Finals Day, but of course, with the amount of cricket and the series going on at the moment, that's not possible. I certainly don't think it devalues the competition. I don't think it feels diminished in any way: it's a massive day in the domestic calendar. Everyone wants England players available but equally that's not possible at the moment. I don't think that detracts from the day."
"It's maybe slightly better: normally, we don't have our overseas players available for this [Finals Day] because it's a long way down the line but because of the nature of the competition now, teams have been able to hold onto those guys."
Dane Vilas, Lancashire's captain, is pragmatic about Buttler and Livingstone's absences
Willey's absence will be particularly painful for Yorkshire since he is their T20 captain, with Brook now due to lead the side in his absence. Having signed a four-year deal with Northants from the end of this season, it is likely that last week's quarter-final against Surrey was his last game for the club.
They have brought back Dominic Drakes, the West Indian allrounder, as a replacement for Finn Allen, who has left on international duty with New Zealand. Dawid Malan is also available after missing the quarter-final due to his involvement in England's T20I series against India.
"Obviously he's one of our best players and he's also our captain but he won't be leading us out there tomorrow," Brook said, asked about Willey's absence. "He's going to be a big miss but every miss comes with an opportunity. Hopefully one of the younger lads can stand up and hopefully get us a win.
"I've captained a few games already but to be doing it at Finals Day, it should be good fun and a challenge. We've got a few players playing for England but I think that's what most of the big counties do: they produce some of the best players. Obviously that's out of my control as to who gets selected. We'd like them here, but that's not to be."
Lancashire, their semi-final opponents, will add Parkinson and Richard Gleeson to the side that played in their quarter-final victory against Essex and have grown accustomed to the absences of Livingstone and Buttler, who have played seven times and once respectively this season.
"It would have been nice: those two add a huge amount of value to our team," Dane Vilas, Lancashire's captain, said. "Jos, the way he's been playing in the IPL and even now is incredible, but also Livi with his all-round game with the batting, bowling and fielding, he would have been a huge asset to us. But we've lost them before and we've had to adapt. The days are about adapting to certain situations and I've no doubt that there's going to be a time where we'll need to use our flexibility and get over the line."
Vilas also pointed out that hosting Finals Day in July, rather than September, meant that overseas players like Tim David would be available. "It's a jam-packed summer," he said. "It's maybe slightly better: normally, we don't have our overseas players available for this [Finals Day] because it's a long way down the line but because of the nature of the competition now, teams have been able to hold onto those guys. You win some, you lose some. It's a bit difficult, but you've got to get used to it and move on."
Overton has taken 10 wickets in 16 overs for Somerset in the Blast this season in between England appearances. "It's a double-edged sword, isn't it?" Abell said. "He's a massive player for us and we'd love to have him available but equally we're very proud and pleased for Craig getting to play for England. That's what we want to see. From our point of view, it's no issue. We pride ourselves on the quality and depth of our squad. Guys have filled that void through the competition when he's not been available."
His absence will hand an opportunity to either Jack Brooks, or the spin-bowling allrounder Lewis Goldsworthy - and with Josh Davey ruled out through injury, there may yet be room for both to play.
Hampshire, their opponents in the second semi-final, are unaffected by England call-ups. "Ideally, although we're not missing anyone, you'd like to see the best players in the country at Finals Day," James Vince, their captain, said. "But thankfully it doesn't affect us. A lot of teams have had England players dip in and out throughout the competition but the standard across the whole of the Blast is really high, and is getting stronger and stronger with the way white-ball cricket is being played."
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Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98