England quartet freed for club duty

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Ashes winners Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook will be free to play for their counties in this week's NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final ties.

England have agreed to release all four, between the fourth and fifth Investec Tests, to be involved in the knockout stages of the domestic Twenty20 tournament which concludes with finals day for the last four teams standing at Edgbaston on August 29.

Worcestershire were first to confirm Moeen's availability for their match at home to Hampshire on Friday - and Lancashire followed suit with wicketkeeper Buttler in the reckoning for them away to Kent a day later.


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Both players, also sure to be part of England's limited-overs plans against Australia once the Ashes series is concluded at The Oval, have been ever-presents so far as the hosts have established an unassailable 3-1 lead to regain the urn.

Bell, a five-time Ashes hero after England's latest triumph, could take part in the Blast this week too for Birmingham Bears at home to Essex on Thursday.

England captain Cook played for Essex against Surrey at The Oval in the Blast group stages in early June, and it has been revealed on the England and Wales Cricket Board's website that he too will be available if required.

Moeen wrote in his blog on "I'm really pleased that I can play in the Blast quarter-final at Worcester on Friday.

"We've never had a home quarter-final before, and it's a great chance to get back to Edgbaston for finals day. I can't wait to play again."

James Anderson will not play for Lancashire on Saturday.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker was named in the squad for final Test at The Oval but is still trying to regain full fitness after the side strain which ruled him out of the series-clinching success at Trent Bridge.

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