Ahead of Ireland’s upcoming tour of Kenya, South Africa and the UAE, Bears paceman Boyd Rankin caught up with Boundary about his time with the England Performance Programme in Loughborough and South Africa as well as the England Lions tour of Bangladesh.
Early in the New Year, Boyd also represented the first ICC Affiliate/Associate Nations team that faced England in Dubai ahead of their recent Test Series against Pakistan.
“It was great an experience out there in the subcontinent,” he said. “I’ve been working hard over the winter with my variations and trying to get more consistent. I only played one game for the Lions in Bangladesh, but I felt that I bowled well given that it was my first game with the white ball in for five months.
“It was a great experience to play with the Lions abroad. It’s very different being out there than playing for the Lions at home, but it was a really good squad to be around. I had a great time even though it was cut short by the minor thigh strain.
“I learnt a lot about playing in the subcontinent – any chance you can get to play in those conditions is a great opportunity and will make you a better player. I still think I did reasonably well in terms of that game and the game against England in Dubai. I showed them what I can do and hopefully I can get a few more games with them in the summer.”
He gained a place on the England Lions’ tour after claiming 55 First Class wickets in 2011, his best haul as a professional. “Any year when you get over 50 wickets is a good year for a bowler. It was also nice to stay fully fit throughout the season as I’d always missed a few games here and there, so it was good to get a full season under my belt.
“I now know my own body know and what I’m capable off. I’m a lot fitter and stronger and all that hard work I have put in other the last few months I can put towards bowling well for Warwickshire.
“I feel that it has taken me a few years to get used to my body, like before the World Cup I did a bit of gym work, which I hadn’t done a massive amount of previously. We have great facilities here at Edgbaston, we have got great coaching staff and it is just nice to work hard and hopefully and I can keep that going.”
Following his tours with the Ireland team, Boyd will return to the Bears squad ahead of the first 2012 First Class fixture against Cardiff MCCU on 6th April and the subsequent LV County Championship match against Somerset at Edgbaston on 12th April.
“I’m now fully fit again, the fittest I have ever been. I’ve done a lot of work before Christmas at Loughborough and then out in South Africa with the fast bowlers. I came back after Christmas feeling pretty strong, and hopefully I can keep that going and be fit and ready for the start of the season. We’ve got a good young squad and a good number of good young bowlers who can perform well, and hopefully we’ll be pushing for the Championship with this team.
“We got pretty close last year, so we really want to go that one step further this year. I hope to take as many wickets as I can. I’m not looking too far into the future, so am just going to take each month as it comes, do the best I can and hopefully that will be good enough to be able to do as well as I did last year and have a good season again.”