Boyd Rankin gears up for return to Irish duty
Boyd Rankin will meet up with the first of his Ireland team-mates tomorrow in Dubai en route to Australia, where the now former England fast bowler will return to the fold.
Rankin will fly out of London with new opening bowler partner Tim Murtagh and join Craig Young, Stuart Thompson and Kevin O'Brien as the pace bowlers head to Brisbane to acclimatise ahead of Ireland's vital Intercontinental Cup game against Papua New Guinea at the end of the month.
The rest of the 13-man squad for the first leg of the tour - Twenty20 internationals against PNG and UAE follow - fly out on Saturday with Max Sorensen, who is not involved in the first-class action, following next Thursday. Andrew Poynter, who will complete the 14-man party for the T20s, joins the squad a week later.
Rankin has not played for Ireland since the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September 2012, the last of 82 Ireland caps before declaring for England due to his ambition to play Test cricket, which he achieved in Sydney in January 2014.
But, omitted from all England selections for the last 24 months, Rankin accepted new coach John Bracewell's invitation to rejoin the Ireland squad and he officially becomes eligible to play for the Irish again on Saturday, two years after his last Three Lions appearance.
His first action will be in a two-day warm-up game on January 24-25 at Brisbane Grammar School when the Ireland squad play a Queensland Premier League Select. The squad then fly to Townsville where they will have two training days before the I-Cup game begins on January 31.
Three T20 internationals against PNG -who beat them in the World T20 qualifiers at Stormont last July - follow on February 6, 7 and 9.
The squad, minus Ed Joyce who retired from Twenty20 cricket, then go to Abu Dhabi to play a club team on February 13 before two T20 internationals against UAE in the Sheik Zayed Stadium on February 14 and 16.
After that it is only seven days at home before the players head to India for the World Twenty20.