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Boyd Rankin set for Ireland return after falling out of favour with England

The fast-bowler wants to play for the country of his birth again but a return hinges on his county’s consent.

Rankin wants to play for Ireland again after being overlooked by England.
Rankin wants to play for Ireland again after being overlooked by England.

BOYD RANKIN WILL meet with Cricket Ireland officials in the coming weeks to discuss his potential return to the Irish squad after abandoning hopes of playing for England again.

The fast-bowler has found himself in the international wilderness since making his Test debut in Sydney nearly two years ago and the door has been left open for him to return to the country of his birth.

Ireland head coach John Bracewell met with Rankin in June but the 31-year-old wasn’t prepared to relinquish hope of an England recall after working his way back from injury.

But he’s been overlooked for England’s winter squads and will now sit down with Cricket Ireland to explore the opportunities available to him should he switch allegiances again.

Rankin has yet to officially declare his intention to return but Cricket Ireland are confident an agreement will be in place before Christmas.

Rankin’s county and main employer, Warwickshire, will also need to be briefed and agree to the terms of the contract.

“We want to do things the right way,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland Performance Director, told The42. “A meeting will take place but a date has yet to be set. We don’t want to step on the toes of the England and Wales Cricket Board or Warwickshire.

“There are loads of things to consider and we will need the full support of his county. The schedule and Boyd’s workload will need to be discussed but we’re hopeful.”

Boyd Rankin reacts after bowling to Shane Watson 19/9/2012 Rankin represented Ireland at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups as well as the 2012 World Twenty20. Source: Ron Gaunt/SPORTZPICS/INPHO

Rankin, who played 82 times for Ireland, switched loyalties to England towards the end of 2012 and played seven One-Day Internationals, two Twenty20 internationals and that solitary Test match for his adopted country.

After enduring a forgettable tour Down Under, he soon fell out of favour and any hopes of a recall ended when he was left out of England’s winter squads at all levels.

Cricket Ireland have maintained a channel of communication with the player during his time with England and one of Bracewell’s first tasks in the job was to meet with Rankin and discuss his international future.

The Derryman wasn’t interested at that juncture but circumstances have since changed and The42 understands Rankin is very keen to prolong his international career with Ireland.

He would be eligible to play for Ireland in January after serving the two-year requalification period. His first game back could be the Intercontinental Cup fixture against Papua New Guinea, although a date for that match has yet to be confirmed.

International Cricket Council regulations require the squad to be named 30 days before the fixture.

The return of Rankin would be a major boost for Bracewell ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March and the next series of fixtures in the quest to become the 11th Test nation.

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Cricket Ireland this morning announced two One-Day International fixtures against South Africa and world champions Australia in September next year.

William Porterfield’s side will face the Proteas in Benoni on 25 September and then face Australia at the same venue two days later.

Ireland celebrate a wicket Ireland have had a busy winter and more fixtures have been added to the 2016 itinerary. Source: Presseye/Rowland White/INPHO

After frustrations over a lack of co-operation from the Full Member nations, Ireland’s schedule is beginning to take shape with home fixtures against Sri Lanka and Pakistan already confirmed.

“Cricket Ireland is most grateful to Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia for giving us this opportunity,” CEO Warren Deutrom commented. “More matches, more regularly, against the best players, in overseas conditions are precisely what we need to make us more competitive on the world stage.

“The recent series played by Ireland and Afghanistan in Zimbabwe plus our ODIs against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2016, and now these matches, show that the 12-team ODI structure is beginning to bear fruit. Long may that continue.”

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