Boyd Rankin: skillful pacer, skillful ploughman
Jonathan Liew, writing for the Telegraph, visits Boyd Rankin's family on their farm in Northern Ireland, to learn about the lesser-known side of the bowler who recently earned an Ashes call-up.
Boyd's height marked him out from an early age. By the age of 11 or 12, he already stood 6ft tall. Soon after that, he was playing age group cricket for Ireland. But his parents made sure he remained grounded. In fact, his eventual move to England at 18 was not motivated solely by cricket. His main objective was to complete an agricultural degree at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. "He was ploughing from eight or nine," says his father Bob. "If he's home, he's out at seven in the morning. He knew he had to rise in the morning to work. Other boys could just lie in their bed all day. That's not him. He's a very skilful tractor man, a very skilled ploughman. He's quite skilful, too, at repairing machinery. He taught himself to weld, pretty much."