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County season ushers in the mother of all English cricketing summers

For a month, at least, the domestic game commands the spotlight before the World Cup and Ashes arrive

With a bit of meteorological luck there could be 78 county cricketers gambolling out into the spring air at 11am on Friday morning; 11 fielders and two batsmen at six grounds who will usher in the start of a season and what is down to be the mother of all English summers.

The home World Cup and Ashes series may be the jewels in the crown – England’s preparations for the former start as early as 3 May when they travel to Malahide for a one-off one-day international against Ireland – but for a month, at least, the domestic game commands the spotlight.

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