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England, Interviews, Warwickshire

Boyd Rankin Interview: Test cricket Ambition

As featured on AllOutCricket.com

Chris Airey chats to big Boyd Rankin: a titan for Ireland and possible  England giant.  

Irish cricket has come a long way over the last 10 years,  developing quality young players including Eoin Morgan, and competing well in  World Cups, including that shock win over neighbours England in 2011. But  while Kevin O’Brien stole the headlines, another young Irishman  grabbed the attention of the English hierarchy. And after claiming over 50  wickets for Warwickshire in 2011, Boyd Rankin once again caught the eye of the England set-up  and was selected to travel on his first tour with the Lions this winter.

The English seam bowling attack may not be lacking tall fast bowlers, but now  6ft 8in Rankin, who grew up in Derry, has his eyes firmly set on a Test cricket  career. But to achieve this he must emulate the likes of Ed Joyce and Morgan who  changed their allegiances to the Three Lions.

“My first aim at the minute is to play Test cricket with England,” Rankin  said. “That is what I am focused on at the minute, but obviously I still play  for Ireland when I can. I have grown up playing with them and I want to continue  to play with them to try and get them to be where they want to be and that is to  play Test cricket one day.”

Rankin’s trip to the subcontinent with the Lions this winter was prematurely  cut short. He had toured Bangladesh before while on duty for Ireland, but only  played one game for the Lions before a minor thigh strain meant he had to fly  back to Birmingham to begin rehabilitation work. But despite not claiming a  wicket, he felt positive about his performance.

“It was an experience out there,” he added. “I have been working hard over  the winter with my variations and trying to get more consistent, I only played  that one game but I felt that I bowled well seeing as it was the first one day  game I had played for five months.

“Overall it was a great experience to play  with the Lions – it was hard being away from home, it is 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 injury. 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  showed them what I can do and hopefully I can get a few more games with them in  the summer.”

Rankin competed in the first ever ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI  game against England in Dubai, and he certainly did not look out of place,  scoring 43 in the first innings and claiming three wickets in the match, those  of Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and fellow Irishman Morgan. But that sometimes  makes things difficult with his Warwickshire teammate, and Ireland captain  William Porterfield.

“We have been living together for the last year or so and it is quite  difficult as he is always pushing me to play for Ireland,” Rankin said.   “But at the minute I want to try and push myself into the Test team and  the only way I can do that is continuing to work hard and play well for  Warwickshire in the Championship.”

“Any year you get over 50 wickets is a good year for a bowler, it was my  first full-season injury free, and before that I have always had a few injuries  here and there and missed a few games so it was nice to get a full season under  my belt. It has taken me a few years to get used to my body. Before the  World Cup I did a bit of gym work, but a couple of years before that I didn’t  even know what a gym was. I have learned a lot over the last three or four years  at Warwickshire.”

Rankin is now preparing for the start of the season when the Bears welcome  Somerset to Edgbaston in the LV= County Championship on April  12. “Hopefully we will 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, that’s all I am trying to focus on, I am not looking too far  into the future, I 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.”

Rankin is hoping that another good season with the Bears will bring his dream  of Test cricket just that little bit closer.

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About Chris Airey

Sports Journalist at Staffordshire Uni - writes for DerbyshireCCC, TelfordUtd Programme and AllOutCricket - tries to play a bit of cricket too!!

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