Boyd Rankin has given Ireland a major boost ahead of next year’s World Twenty20, by officially giving up on his hopes of adding to his solitary Test cap with England and has instead pledged his allegiance once again to the country of his birth.
Rankin, 31, met last week with Cricket Ireland to complete his return to the national team, for whom he made 82 international appearances between 2007 and 2012, including the last World Twenty20 in Bangladesh three years ago.
In between whiles, he featured in seven ODIs and two T20Is for England in 2013-14, as well as his one-off Test appearance at Sydney in the final match of an ill-fated Ashes campaign. He claimed a solitary wicket in an injury-blighted performance and never looked likely to add to that tally.
Instead, his future lies in his past, as Rankin follows the path taken by his Ireland team-mate, Ed Joyce, who qualified for England in time for the 2007 World Cup, but was back in Irish colours in India four years later, where he and Rankin both played in the famous victory over England at Bangalore.
“I’m delighted to be returning to Irish cricket, where I was born and learned the game,” said Rankin. “I’ll always be grateful to England for the chance to play Test cricket, but with little opportunities in the last two years, I felt it was time to move on at this stage of my career.
“There’s a real opportunity for Ireland to get Test status now, and that prospect was a real lure for me – I’d love to be part of history. Before that of course there’s a T20 World Cup in India – I’ve played in three before with Ireland and it’d be great to make it four.
“I’ve also very happy memories of both the 2007 and 2011 50-over World Cups in the West Indies and India, and I’d like to make it a hat-trick of appearances in 2019 in England.”
Rankin was approached for an Ireland recall earlier in the summer, but chose to wait until the make-up of this winter’s England tour parties was known. However, he was overlooked for both the senior squads and the England Lions trips to South Africa and the UAE, and will become officially available for Ireland on January 18, having played the last of his England matches, an ODI against Australia at Brisbane, on January 17, 2014.
Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth was delighted to have Rankin back in the Irish set-up. “It’s fantastic news for Irish cricket to have a bowler of his undoubted quality back in the fold.
“We’ve had a number of retirements in recent times, losing quality and proven performers such as Trent Johnston and John Mooney. That has severely depleted our quick bowling stocks so to have Boyd returning gives everyone a tremendous boost.
“His height and the extra bounce he generates makes him such a difficult proposition for opponents, and it gives skipper William Porterfield a fantastic extra option in his armoury.
Rankin’s first assignment in Ireland’s colours will be an Intercontinental Cup fixture against Papua New Guinea in Townsville, Australia, from January 31-February 3. They are currently top of the table with a maximum 40 points from their wins against the UAE and Namibia.
He can then expect to travel to India for the World Twenty20 in March and April, where Ireland have been drawn in Group A alongside The Netherlands, Oman and Bangladesh. If they win the group they will proceed to the Super Ten phase where they will face India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia.