Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

I'm ready: Boyd Rankin wants a crack at the Australians in Ashes Test

Raring  to go: Ulsterman Boyd Rankin
Raring to go: Ulsterman Boyd Rankin
Boyd Rankin of England bowls during day one of the tour match between the Chairman's XI and England at Traeger Park on November 29, 2013 in Alice Springs, Australia

Boyd Rankin will learn today if he is to make his Test debut for England in the third Ashes Test against Australia, which gets under way in Perth tomorrow.

The former Bready and Ireland pace bowler has already been supported by England legend Sir Ian Botham for a call-up on the fastest pitch in the world and, as Rankin tells the Belfast Telegraph today in his exclusive column, he is "ready to go".

Rankin, at 6ft 8in, is the tallest bowler in the England squad and the bounce he will get from his extra height could be a key factor to rough up the Aussies as the tourists prepare to fight fire with fire in their increasingly desperate attempt to retain the Ashes.

After losing the first two Tests, both by massive margins, England must win at least two of the last three matches to hold on to the most famous urn in sport.

Coach Andy Flower has said there will be changes and at least one extra pace bowler will come in for spinner Monty Panesar.

Rankin tells this newspaper today: "I have been working very hard on my game and if I get the call-up I am ready to go."

Botham, now a Sky Sports commentator, backed up his claims: "I think the lad deserves a chance. I want to bombard the Aussie batsmen with pace and see how they like it. Give him a go."

Even if selectors overlook Rankin (29) this week, he is certain to see big-match action in Australia in the New Year as he has been named in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads for the games which follow the Test series.

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