The much-delayed English domestic fixtures were released on Thursday lunchtime, with Northants at last getting their chance to play in the top flight of English cricket following their promotion from division two in 2019.
The past two Covid-hit summers have seen the Championship played in a three-conference format, but it is returning to the two-division system this summer.
The County will face strong opposition as they embark on a first division one campaign since 2014, and although they have a free week after their opener against Gloucestershire, they then face five more games in quick succession as the season gets off to as busy start.
The opening seven rounds will be played from Thursday to Sunday on successive weeks as Championship cricket dominates the schedule, but there will this year be five rounds played during June and July – an increase from the three rounds during the same period last summer.
The division one and two titles are set to be decided in September, with the final round of fixtures to be staged from September 26-29.
Northants entertain Gloucestershire and then have that free week before hosting Yorkshire (April 21), travelling to Essex (April 28), Surrey (May 5) and reigning champions Warwickshire (May 12).
John Sadler's side are back at home on May 19 when they entertain Kent.
The County are not then in four-day action again until Sunday, June 26 when they host Warwickshire, before a July 11 trip to Canterbury to play Kent.
July 19 sees Northants entertain Lancashire at the County Ground, before they head to Cheltenham to play Gloucestershire on Monday, July 25.
It is then September before Northants go to Hampshire (Sept 5), host Surrey (Sept 12) and travel to Somerset (Sept 20) before finishing the season at Wantage Road against Essex on September 26.
There has also been a revamp of the Vitality T20 Blast competition.
Now in its 20th season, instead of being spread out over three months, the Blast will be played in a condensed seven-week period ahead of the Finals Day at Edgbaston on July 16.
The group stages will see the majority of matches played between Thursday and Sunday, and there will also be 10 double-headers when the men’s Blast and women’s Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 matches are played back-to-back at the same venue.
One of these will be staged at the County Ground, with Sunrisers taking on Central Sparks ahead of the Steelbacks' home clash with Leicestershire Foxes on Wednesday, June 1.
The Blast quarter-finals will begin three days after the group stage finishes, on July 3, with Finals Day a week later.
Steelbacks are once again in the North Group alongside Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, Durham, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Notts Outlaws Worcestershire Rapids and Yorkshire Vikings.
The Steelbacks' Blast campaign starts with a trip to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Bears on Thursday, May 26, before a home date with Durham 25 hours later (Friday, May 27).
A trip to Trent Bridge to take on Notts Outlaws follows on Sunday, May 29 before the June 1 home clash with Leicestershire Foxes.
Steelbacks go to Old Trafford to play Lancashire on Friday, June 3, go to Durham on June 5 and then entertain Derbyshire Falcons on Tuesday, June 7.
Worcestershire Rapids are at Wantage Road on Thursday, June 9 and there is then a week's break before Lancashire arrive in Northampton for a Friday night date on June 17.
The following day sees Josh Cobb take his team to Worcestershire (June 18), and they go to Derbyshire on Tuesday, June 21 before entertaining the Bears on Wednesday, June 22.
Friday, June 24 sees Yorkshire Vikings at the County Ground, before the Steelbacks wrap up their group campaign with a trip down the road to Leicestershire on Friday, July 1.
Northants will be in Group B of the Royal London One Day Cup, which will be played at the same time as The Hundred, which returns for its second season.
The final is returned to a Saturday though after last year's Thursday slot, with Trent Bridge to host the decider on September 17.
The group stage will have finished on August 23, with the knockout stages being held on August 26 and 30.
The other counties alongside Northants in Group B are Derbyshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire.
As they did last summer, the Steelbacks will play Bedfordshire in a warm-up match before beginning their campaign.
The One Day Cup campaign starts with a trip to York to take on Yorkshire on Tuesday, August 2, before the first home date with Essex Eagles at the County Ground on Sunday, August 7.
A trip to the Ageas Bowl to take on Hampshire follows on August 9, before Wantage Road meeting with Glamorgan on Friday, August 12.
On Sunday, August 14, the Steelbacks travel to Caterbury to play Kent Spitfires, host Worcestershire on August 17, travel to Old Trafford to play Lancashire on August 19 before wrapping up the campaign with a home date against Derbyshire on Tuesday, August 23.