Rankin's ECB call-up concerns Ireland
The inclusion of fast bowler Boyd Rankin in the ECB's enhanced England Performance Programme has left Warren Deutrom, Ireland's chief executive, worried about a further depletion or resources. Ireland have lost batsmen Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan to England in recent years, and Deutrom has warned that Rankin's following course would be a major loss to their cricket.
Rankin, who switched from Derbyshire to Warwickshire, was named in a pool of 41 players who will train in Florida, Loughborough and Chennai over the next few months. "In terms of Boyd's personal development, it is obviously terrific for him to have access to the sort of programmes that the ECB can provide," Deutrom told the Daily Express. "But for us it is a worrying development that he has obviously figured on the England radar. It is, of course, a source of pride that we continue to produce cricketers that England are interested in but, if we were to lose another player to follow Ed and Eoin, it would be a severe blow to Irish cricket."
Ireland stand to lose Rankin for their Intercontinental Cup match and one-dayers against Afghanistan in early 2010, because he is slated to fly to the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai in January to train under Dennis Lillee for ten days at the same time. "I am still keen to play for Ireland as much as I can but I can't play Test cricket for Ireland and I have to do what I can to get that opening," Rankin told the Belfast Telegraph. "The idea of this camp, I understand, is to build up strength, to be fitter and stronger. I have done a lot of fitness work in the last 12 months and apart from a minor groin strain played the whole season."
David Parsons, the ECB's performance director, said the management was on the look-out for a tall fast bowler capable of hitting the deck hard, such as Rankin, who impressed during the 2007 World Cup for Ireland. "We know from the research and from looking at cricket at the prevalence of injuries that there is quite a steady turnover of fast bowlers in the modern game," he said. "We need to make sure that England has a deep pool of fast bowlers ready to go out and perform at high levels.
"But there is also no mistaking that fast bowlers are match winners. Boyd would be the standout quick in terms of his physical stature and the feedback we've had is that he has got a lot of potential. Bowlers who hit the deck hard at a high end pace are really proven to be match winners. If we can identify people like that we are on the right track."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa