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England pair get green light for Yorkshire
Yorkshire have been given a major boost for the start of the new season, with the England selectors releasing Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root for the majority of matches at the start of the summer.
Both Yorkshire players are set to play for England in the final Test against New Zealand in Auckland, which begins tonight.
But their involvement had prompted fears they would be seen rarely in county cricket because of the number of international fixtures this season, including Test series against New Zealand and Australia and the Champions Trophy.
However, the England selectors have attempted to play fair with the counties, with Bairstow being available from the opening championship match against Sussex at Headingley on April 10 having played only two Tests all winter.
All-rounder Tim Bresnan is similarly available from the very start of the season, but his return to action is dependent on his recovery from an operation to his right elbow in February.
Root, who has forced his way into England’s Test side this winter, will miss the opening match against Sussex, but is available for the next three championship games at Durham and at home to Derbyshire and Somerset.
He will also be able to play in Yorkshire Bank 40 matches away to Glamorgan on May 7 and at home to Somerset on May 11 before England’s squad assemble for the first Test against New Zealand, which starts at Lord’s on May 16.
Meanwhile, Joe Sayers will be given an opportunity to establish himself as an opener when Yorkshire complete their pre-season tour of Barbados with a two-day friendly against Nottinghamshire tomorrow.
Emerging batsman Alex Lees scored a century in the drawn two-day match against Northamptonshire earlier this week opening alongside Adam Lyth, with Sayers dropping down the order to No 6.
But in the final match of their pre-season tour, Yorkshire are keen to also look at Sayers at the top of the order once again in a line-up showing seven changes from earlier in the week.
Andrew Hodd returns to the side as wicketkeeper after overcoming a knee problem alongside Ryan Sidebottom, Phil Jacques, Moin Ashraf, Jack Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Richard Pyrah.
Yorkshire (v Nottinghamshire): Lyth, Sayers, Jacques, Gale (capt), Hodd (wkt), Pyrah, Plunkett, Patterson, Brooks, Ashraf, Sidebottom.