England match represents big chance for Rankin

Boyd Rankin will be out to impress England coach Andy Flower and Test captain Andrew Strauss when he lines up for the ICC Combined Associates and Affiliates XI in Dubai on Saturday January 7.

The three-day match is a warm-up for England’s Test series against Pakistan but Rankin, the Warwickshire and Ireland pace bowler, hopes to use the occasion to press his own England claims.

Rankin, 27, is already on England’s radar having made his debut for England Lions against Sri Lanka A last summer.

He spent three weeks at an England Performance Programme training camp in South Africa last month, where he worked closely with James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett, who will be opponents in Dubai over the weekend.

“I got to know them quite well working with them out in South Africa so it will be a bit strange playing against them again out in Dubai,” Rankin said. “But my ultimate ambition is to play Test cricket for England; that’s my goal and it’s what I am trying to achieve.

“The match against England is a chance to show the captain and coach what I can do. I’ve worked pretty hard over the last couple of months, I’m fitter and stronger than I have been, I feel that I’m bowling with good rhythm and hopefully that will continue for what is going to be a busy three months before the start of the new season.”

Rankin, who remains eligible to play for Ireland until he is picked by England at senior level, will fly straight from Dubai to Bangladesh to link up with the England Lions tour there.

He will then rejoined Ireland for their trip to Kenya in February and return to Dubai for the ICC’s World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in March.

Rankin qualified to play international cricket for England two years ago having studied agriculture at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire and had spells with Middlesex and Derbyshire before he joined Warwickshire.

Last summer was his most successful in county cricket with 55 County Championship wickets, helped by staying clear of injuries.

With his height – Rankin is 6ft 10ins tall – and awkward bounce the Ulsterman is a similar bowler to Tremlett who has helped to inspire him.

“Chris has suffered injuries but has come out a stronger bowler. He’s an example to me of what you can achieve if you work hard and get your chance,” Rankin said.

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