Boys Rankin denied shot at old pals
Boyd Rankin will not be facing Ireland at the World Twenty20 after being left out of the England squad for both the tour of West Indies at the end of this month and the ICC event immediately afterwards.
It is a devastating blow for the big Bready-born paceman who made his Test debut against Australia in the final Ashes match but, after playing in two one-day internationals, he took no part in the last six games of England's calamitous tour Down Under.
Kevin Pietersen may be the most high-profile casualty of the 12-1 series defeat across all three formats, as England "move on" but the fear for Rankin is that he could have played his last game for England, just seven months after his England debut.
Rankin was actually ranked 25th in the world in Twenty20 bowlers before the start of England's three-match series against Australia – with only captain Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach on the England team above him – but he was not selected for any of the games, while Dernbach took only one wicket at almost 13 runs an over.
The England selectors, who include Rankin's former coach at Warwickshire Ashley Giles, who persuaded him to give his up Ireland career and declare for England, have retained faith in Dernbach and also called up the uncapped Nottinghamshire left arm seamer Harry Guerney for the West Indies tour, which includes three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals.
With the squad reduced to 15 for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March, Guerney is left out but uncapped Worcestershire batsman Moeen Ali and Lancashire slow left armer Stephen Parry are included in both squads. Danny Briggs, along with Rankin, also misses out in the only changes from the squad in Australia.
If Rankin does not win back his place in the England team, he must wait two years before re-qualifying for Ireland and on social media yesterday, the words "Countdown to January 17, 2016" were already trending.
Meanwhile, Ireland's West Indies tour continues tonight with their final group game at the Super50 in Trinidad, against the Windward Islands who won the tournament last year.
This time it is a game which will decide who finishes third in the group – the semi-final out of bounds – as Ireland look for the first win and Phil Simmons' 104th as Ireland coach in his 200th game, since he took over after the 2007 World Cup. Paul Stirling is fit to take his place and play his first game although James Shannon will not be considered after arriving only last night to replace John Mooney.
The squad have not used Mooney's return home as an excuse for their poor performance in Monday's eight wicket defeat to Jamaica – simply a case of their main players not performing – and they are determined to finish the tournament on a high note.
As usual, Simmons was given nothing away about selection but it will be a surprise if Craig Young is not brought in for his first game, especially as it is now known it is Ireland's last 50-overs game before the ODI against the West Indies on February 23. The organisers' plans to have third and fourth place play-off games have been ditched and Ireland will instead play two Twenty20 games against local opposition next Thursday and Friday, before they fly to Jamaica for the international leg of the tour on the Sunday.