The opening rounds of the Specsavers County Championship will not be short of star quality with all the England players set to return to red-ball action – and in many cases to battle for their place in the first Investec Test of the 2016 summer.

England’s Test captain Alastair Cook will lead the way, having been made available to play in the first four fixtures of the season for Essex – starting with their home match against Gloucestershire next Sunday.

The opening round of fixtures will also feature Mark Wood’s return to action in Durham’s Division One match against Somerset at the renamed Emirates Riverside. Wood is set to be joined in the Durham team by Ben Stokes for their subsequent fixtures against Middlesex and Surrey.

James Vince and Liam Dawson, two members of England’s squad for the ICC World T20, have been cleared to play in Hampshire’s intriguing season opener at the Ageas Bowl against a Warwickshire team led by Ian Bell and also including Chris Woakes.

No final decision has yet been made on the availability of Reece Topley, who joined Hampshire from Essex at the end of last season. If he does not face the Bears, Topley will make his debut in Hampshire’s second fixture on Sunday week at Headingley – against a Yorkshire team for whom Adil Rashid, another of England’s T20 stars, will be available, as well as Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance. Liam Plunkett and David Willey are also available to play whenever Yorkshire decide they are ready.

Joe Root will take a break after another demanding winter in all forms of the game, but the England management have made him available for Yorkshire’s fixtures against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge starting on May 1, and at home to Surrey the following week.

Root will inevitably go head to head with England team-mates in both of those games. Jason Roy has been made available to play for Surrey from the start of the season, as has Mark Footitt, their winter signing from Derbyshire.

James Taylor and Samit Patel are also available to start the season for Nottinghamshire against Surrey at Trent Bridge on Sunday. Stuart Broad’s first appearance will be delayed until an intriguing match against newly-promoted Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford the following week – in which he is set to go head to head with Jimmy Anderson, his England new-ball partner who has been made available for Lancashire’s first three fixtures back in Division One against Notts, Somerset and Hampshire.

Alex Hales is to take a slightly longer break after a hard winter, but like Root he will be available for the Nottinghamshire-Yorkshire game.

Steven Finn and Nick Compton are available to start the season with Middlesex, who face Warwickshire at Lord’s from April 17, and Moeen Ali has been cleared to make three Division Two appearances for Worcestershire after missing their opening fixture against Kent.

Chris Jordan will delay his return for Sussex until May 1 to have treatment on his right elbow.