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Rankin remains with county as Irish face Afghans in Belfast

By Ian Callender

Published 06/07/2016

Standing tall: Boyd Rankin has been putting in the overs for his county side Warwickshire over the past couple of months
Standing tall: Boyd Rankin has been putting in the overs for his county side Warwickshire over the past couple of months

Ireland captain William Porterfield will be sole Warwickshire player in next week's one-day international series against Afghanistan at Stormont after Mark Adair joined pace bowling partner Boyd Rankin on the list of absentees.

A back injury has forced Adair to miss out on his Ireland debut, but Rankin's experience - 91 caps plus an England Test appearance - is also missing because of his hectic county schedule, part of the agreement of his return to the Ireland scene after his non-selection for England in the last two years.

"When I was sorting out my contract I left it to Cricket Ireland and Warwickshire and they agreed I would miss the Afghanistan series, just because Warwickshire have so much cricket. We have a four-day game starting on Sunday against Hampshire and then a couple of T20s and a couple of one-dayers," said Rankin.

At the time (last winter), Warwickshire probably thought that Porterfield would be in their starting line-up as well so they would be at least two players down, but the Ireland skipper has yet to play a championship game this season - playing only white ball cricket.

For Rankin, though, it has been another season of travelling the length and breadth of England between his visit home to play last month's two one-dayers against Sri Lanka and he will be back in Dublin next month for two more against Pakistan as Ireland's international summers become increasingly crowded.

There are ups and downs in the hectic schedule of a county cricketer's life. Rankin explained: "I've been lucky the last few weeks, playing just championship cricket. I've had a few niggles so I was rested for the T20s, so it was nice to play the game, get a few days off, then train for the next game. We've had three to four championship games back to back recently and I have got into a good rhythm going. It is hard work but it is good in a way that if you have rhythm you can just keep bowling."

The downside remains the travelling and although Rankin did not play in the T20 game in Birmingham on Friday night, around half of the squad involved in the championship match against Surrey, starting the following morning, did and after finishing that game after 9pm, they had to make a 135-mile journey south.

The bonus for Warwickshire was that they completed victory in Surrey with a day to spare so Rankin had a day off yesterday, his 32th birthday.

"Three-day finishes don't happen too often so those of us not driving had a few beers after the match," he said.

"It's hard to get wins on the wickets we're playing on but this win sets us up nicely in the table and if we can beat Hampshire we are right back in the mix (to win the title).

"We have a good squad so can push forward in all three formats. After the Hampshire game, there is period of three weeks coming up when there is nothing but T20 and one-day stuff. But this is the big one (the championship), we haven't won it since 2012 so hopefully we can keep going, keep injury free and keep doing well."

Belfast Telegraph

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