Harmison Amongst Players Released For County Duty

Durham bowler Steve Harmison is amongst the England players who will return to county action during the closing stages of the County Championship and Pro40 competitions. Although Harmison played in both the Test and One Day International series against South Africa, he, along with with other members of the side that have not played in both series, will be available for the end of the county season. Alastair Cook is allowed to play one Pro40 fixture for Essex due to his limited involvement in the One Day International series while the likes of Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and captain Kevin Pietersen will be rested ahead of England's next engagement, the Stanford Super Series in Antigua in October and November. England coach Peter Moores explained: "It has been a gruelling summer schedule and it’s important for those players involved in both the Test and ODI squads to be rested ahead of what promises to be a hectic winter. "With the postponement of the ICC Champions Trophy an invaluable break in the international schedule has emerged during September and it is important the players use that interval to refresh themselves mentally and physically ahead of a schedule that has little respite over the next 12 months. "Those players involved in both England squads will be given a break from cricket but they will continue a comprehensive conditioning programme in preparation for the Stanford Super Series and the ensuing tour of India. "We recognise that Stephen Harmison only featured in one Test match prior to joining England’s ODI squad and as a result he will join Durham for the rest of the first-class season. Alastair Cook has not featured in the current NatWest Series and after working hard on his One-Day game during recent weeks he is available for Essex’s NatWest Pro40 match this Sunday and a Twenty20 floodlit challenge match on Friday." England players available to counties for end of season: Tim Ambrose (Warwickshire) Ravi Bopara (Essex) Steve Harmison (Durham) Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire) Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire) Matt Prior (Sussex) Owais Shah (Middlesex) Andrew Strauss (Middlesex) Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire) Luke Wright (Sussex) England players unavailable Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire) James Anderson (Lancashire) Ian Bell (Warwickshire) Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire) Paul Collingwood (Durham) Alastair Cook (Essex) - except Pro40 match on September 7th & T20 Floodlit Challenge on September 5th Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire) Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire) - injured © Cricket World 2008