County Championship: England captain Alastair Cook to return for Essex duty

Alastair Cook made the 17th first-class century for Essex - and the 54th of his career - on his last Championship appearance in April
Cook made his 17th century for Essex, the 54th of his first-class career, on his last appearance in April

Division Two side Essex will have England captain Alastair Cook available for their next County Championship match against Kent.

The 31-year-old opener is to make his fifth Championship appearance of the season in the game starting on Sunday.

Cook has not played cricket since England completed their 2-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka on 13 June.

Pace bowler Stuart Broad is also expected to return for Nottinghamshire against Lancashire at Trent Bridge.

England's next Test, the first of a three-match series with Pakistan, starts on 14 July at Lord's.

Cook was in fine form when he was first made available by the England and Wales Cricket Board for Essex's first four matches this season, hitting 523 runs in seven visits to the crease, including three centuries.

His average of 130.75 remains the highest in the Championship.

"After his contributions earlier in the season we are pleased to have him back in the fold," said Essex coach Chris Silverwood.

"It is always a bonus to welcome Alastair back. We never put much pressure on him when he comes back. We are just grateful to have him around the squad. Hopefully we hope he can make an impact on his return."

Essex-Kent form guide

Essex's 'second against first' home meeting with Kent pitches the former Division Two leaders against the side who overtook them on Wednesday with a draw against Derbyshire.

Kent remain unbeaten in the Championship this season, having now won twice and drawn six times since their total abandonment at Worcester in the opening week of the season.

Essex will resume Championship action after an 11-day break on the back of their first defeat, against Leicestershire.

Essex and Kent also meet in T20 Blast action at Chelmsford on Friday night (19:00 BST). It will be a second game in 24 hours for Kent, who are scheduled to host Sussex at Canterbury on Thursday night (18:30 BST).

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