England players made available
England have given all of their senior players the chance to play at least two first-class games before the start of the international summer.
The England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed the availability to counties of all centrally and incrementally contracted players, with the emphasis firmly on getting the likely Test squad involved in competitive matches.
The team may not have completed their tour of New Zealand yet but the first home Test of a bumper year, against the same opposition, is already looming at Lord's on May 16.
By the time they name a squad for that match, England's selectors can expect to have seen plenty of all likely candidates on the domestic circuit - in some cases, going head to head.
Captain Alastair Cook, wicketkeeper Matt Prior, batsmen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott and seamers Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steven Finn have all been made available for two LV= County Championship fixtures.
Relative newcomers Nick Compton, Joe Root and Chris Woakes have the chance to play three championship fixtures, while Durham will be able to call on Graham Onions for four games before the schedule is reassessed.
Bell, Compton, Prior, Root and Trott have also been freed to play at least one Yorkshire Bank40 match.
A second tier of players - Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, James Tredwell and Chris Tremlett - have been made available for all county cricket until further notice.
That would suggest they are not currently expected to feature against the Black Caps, although with Bairstow and Panesar currently deputising in the Test side for injured duo Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann, that may change.
Swann (elbow) and Pietersen (knee) are joined on the sidelines by Tim Bresnan (elbow), while Eoin Morgan will be made available to Middlesex upon his return from the Indian Premier League.
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