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Boyd Rankin agony as broken leg ends his season early

By Richard Bullick

Fast bowler Boyd Rankin is out of Ireland's one-day international series against Pakistan this week and will miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg in training.

He sustained the injury preparing for Warwickshire's county championship clash with Surrey and scans confirmed a fracture of his left tibia.

The 32-year-old paceman's career has been blighted by injury and this latest setback rules Rankin out of a run of glamour internationals over the next few weeks.

After facing Pakistan in two ODIs at Malahide tomorrow and Saturday, William Porterfield's team is also set to take on Australia and hosts South Africa in Benoni next month and Rankin will be a big loss.

Earlier this year, the big Bready man returned to Ireland duty after a spell with England which saw him play one Ashes Test in Australia but fail to establish himself in the side.

By contrast he is one of Ireland's most important players as the spearhead of a relatively inexperienced seam attack and this injury news wasn't what coach John Bracewell wanted to hear.

"It's obviously a blow to lose a bowler of Boyd's quality and experience at such a crucial juncture of the season but these things happen and we wish him a speedy recovery," he said.

With five other seamers in the original squad selected for this series, including all-rounder Kevin O'Brien, Ireland have opted not to call up a replacement.

The experienced Tim Murtagh of Middlesex is joined by Craig Young, available again after elbow surgery, Peter Chase and recent debutant Barry McCarthy.

Bracewell was happy with the efforts of his rookie seamers during last month's drawn series against Afghanistan when neither Rankin nor Young were on duty.

However, their relative inexperience means Chase and Durham's McCarthy may be fighting for one spot in tomorrow's line-up with either John Anderson or Stuart Poynter occupying the last batting place.

Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien is back after missing the Afghanistan series with a calf problem but Gary Wilson's welcome return to batting form should see both men accommodated.

Pakistan, captained by Azhar Ali, can call on the nucleus of the team which drew the Test series against England including star spinner Yasir Shah and the controversial Mohammad Amir.

Among those brought in for the one-day leg of the tour, which concludes with five games against England, are the experienced Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul.

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