Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

There’s life after Rankin, says Ireland cricket boss Simmons

Boyd Rankin is set to quit the Ireland team

National Coach Phil Simmons believes Ireland will continue to be successful without Boyd Rankin.

Exit door: Boyd Rankin is set to quit the Ireland teamBY ian callender

INTERNATIONAL CRICKETNATIONAL Coach Phil Simmons believes Ireland will continue to be successful without Boyd Rankin.

The Bready-born pace bowler signed a new three-year contract for Warwickshire which forces him to end his international career, so he will not be renewing his contract with Cricket Ireland which expires at the end of the year.

Rankin will get the chance to sign off his Ireland career at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka next month — that squad will be announced next week — but National Coach Phil Simmons accepts he must complete the 2015 World Cup qualifying programme without his strike bowler.

“Boyd has been a superb strike bowler for us, particularly in World Cups and qualifying tournaments,” said Simmons (pictured).

“Time and time again he took vital early wickets and the new ball partnership he has forged with Trent Johnston has been one of the main reasons for our success since 2007.

“His extra pace and the lift he generates with his height made him a very dangerous proposition for our opponents and none relished facing him.

“It's obviously a very damaging blow for Ireland, but we've lost players before and bounced back and I'm sure this time will be no exception.

“His absence will create opportunities for others and I'm certain they will grasp them.”

Rankin (28) still has ambitions to break back into the England set-up — he has already appeared for the Lions team — and the Warwickshire deal encourages the Ireland international to follow the path taken by Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan.

“I have genuine ambitions of playing Test cricket and I have to give myself the best chance to do that by reducing my workloads as a fast bowler and concentrating on playing cricket for Warwickshire,” said Rankin.

“It has become increasingly difficult to play for three different sides throughout the year as it leaves me with little time for rest and recovery, which helps reduce my chance of injury.

“I want to say a massive thank you to Cricket Ireland who have supported me throughout my career and I owe them a lot.

“They have been very understanding in my decision and I know the door is never closed with them. I am available for this year’s ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka and I look forward to the great challenge ahead if selected.”

The pressure by his county to pull out of the increasingly demanding Ireland programme came to a head at the start of this season when Rankin returned from the World Twenty20 qualifiers in the UAE with a stress reaction in his foot which ruled him out of the Warwickshire side for three months.

He returned to the Ireland side for the three-match T20 international series against Bangladesh at Stormont last month but played only one match, again under pressure to return fully fit to Edgbaston. Since then contract negotiations have been ongoing and Rankin signed the lucrative three-year deal — with which Cricket Ireland could not compete.

Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said: “We are naturally very disappointed to lose Boyd, who has performed very well for Ireland on the world stage, but this further loss only strengthens our aim of becoming a Full Member of ICC and ultimately a Test-playing country.

“This will be the third Irish player we have lost to the England cause in just six years, notwithstanding Ed Joyce’s return.

“It is our strong view that we must be given the opportunity very soon to finance a full-time international programme and centrally contract all our players in order to halt this exodus.”

Rankin has played 79 times for Ireland — 65 of them in the last four years — taking 110 wickets at an average of 24.05 with a best return of five for 39 against Namibia in 2008.

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