County Championship preview: Alastair Cook back in action for Essex
England captain Alastair Cook returns to County Championship action on Monday as Essex play Hampshire at Chelmsford.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 29/04/13 7:35pm
Cook is available for his county side for the first time this season as he begins what will be a huge international summer for him and England by having a run-out for Essex in Division Two.
Essex have drawn and lost their first two games, but head coach Paul Grayson is hoping for a U-turn in their fortunes with Cook back to lead the batting and seamer David masters back in the fold after a side strain.
"It will be nice to have the England captain back in our ranks for a couple of games plus our top bowler and they will obviously be automatic choices for Monday's match," Grayson said. "To bring Cookie back in, someone has to drop out and at this time of the year, that's difficult but that's the nature of the beast.
"Hopefully, Alastair can find some good early form that will set him nicely for an excellent summer with England."
Former Essex wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Wheater returns to Chelmsford where he made 98 against Hampshire last season as the visitors won a thriller by just two runs.
Another England player returning to action is Graeme Swann, who has recovered from elbow surgery and is in the Nottinghamshire squad that entertain Durham at Trent Bridge.
Ajmal Shahzad and Steven Mullaney are also added to the squad while Andre Adams is out with a calf injury. Durham have just one day to recover from a tough loss at home to Yorkshire on Sunday before they run out in Nottingham.
Yorkshire also have a quick turnaround but will be in much better spirits as they return to Headingley, where they are unbeaten in their last nine, to face Derbyshire, who have not lost at the venue in their last four trips.
Ryan Sidebottom has been rested for the game with al-rounder Richard Pyrah drafted into the squad, while Derbyshire have added Chesney Hughes and Mark Footitt to their party after impressive Second XI outings and Mark Turner misses out through injury.
Tuesday's Division Two game sees Leicestershire entertain Gloucestershire, with both sides looking for their first wins of this embryonic new season, at Grace Road where the Foxes have won three and drawn two of the last five meetings.
Gloucester lost by seven wickets against Northants last time out and have injury worries over Benny Howell (hand) and Liam Norwell (groin) to contend with for the game.