England news September 4, 2013

Rankin beats homecoming nerves


When Boyd Rankin's second ball of his England one-day debut - against an Ireland side who he had represented 37 times at the same level - disappeared so far down the leg side that Jos Buttler couldn't gather it there was a fear the occasion may get the better of him. That he ended with a career-best 4 for 46 provided Rankin with a major tick in Ashley Giles' coach's notebook at the beginning of a period where the depth of England's next generation will be assessed.

Rankin, who has spent much of his county career under Giles at Warwickshire, overcame his early waywardness in Malahide with the scalps of Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce, then later in the innings he removed William Porterfield and Jonny Mooney to earn him the best figures of a bowler on England debut since Chris Tremlett's 4 for 32 against Bangladesh in 2005.

He formed a tall opening attack with Steven Finn which is likely to be the combination used for most of the series against Australia with England having rested James Anderson and Stuart Broad alongside the injury-enforced absence of Tim Bresnan. His chances of breaking into England's Ashes party for the Test series in Australia this winter are already being talked up.

Giles told ESPNcricinfo that the nerves had been evident. "All credit to him. He was probably more nervous yesterday than if he'd been playing against Australia," he said, "with him going home and all the talk around the Irish players playing for England. His first couple of overs were a bit nervous but he settled very quickly. To finish with four: what a great debut. He'll take that confidence into the next match."

Rankin and Finn were the only two frontline quicks selected against Ireland - Jamie Overton and Chris Jordan were overlooked - and for large chunks of the bowling performance England did feel a specialist bowler light, especially when Eoin Morgan turned to Michael Carberry's basic offspin. Giles, however, was impressed by the role of Ben Stokes who bowled for the first time in ODIs, ending with none for 51 in his 10 overs.

"Ben was our third seamer and his bowling has really developed over the last 12 months, and I thought he bowled pretty well yesterday. We have an inexperienced attack for these one-dayers and it's going to be a steep learning curve. In terms of the balance it was great to look down and see Stokes at No. 8, and at one point it looked as though we might need it. I think we are lucky in his case as he's a genuine allrounder and can fill two spots."

Giles was alluding to England's top order collapse as they slipped to 48 for 4 chasing 270 before being rescued by a world-record fifth wicket stand 220 between Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. Although Giles would have preferred not to see the team in such a tricky position he believes they could yet feel the benefit of it further down the line.

"It was a very useful exercise. Obviously there are areas we can work on. Ireland setting us a challenging target was, in hindsight, good for the side because it put them under pressure. It was a bit closer than we'd have liked to be at one stage but overall for us to firstly see some of those guys in an international environment, and then for Morgan and Bopara to get us home was extremely worthwhile."

The side that faced Ireland resembled more a Lions team that a full England one-day side and although three players - Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott - return to face Australia the bowling will retain a callow feel for the five-match series.

Giles has not been able to able to pick a full strength team during his time as one-day coach (Pietersen was injured for the Champions Trophy) but acknowledges the need for rotation and also sees the benefit of judging different players under the pressure of one-day cricket.

"Myself and Andy Flower, in our conversations, have always accepted that this would have to happen to manage the player workloads. We want to keep their services for the long-term. In the Champions Trophy we had our No 1 side out, barring Kevin Pietersen and that's our aim: to have our best sides available for the key tournaments.

"Between times we are going to have to rest and rotate. It does give us a chance to look at some of the young talent coming through, particularly with an eye on 2015 World Cup. We could say our best team - the one that played the Champions Trophy plus Kevin Pietersen - could get us to the World Cup. It might be, but it might not be and some of youngsters might be needed."

And he insists the split coaching roles which have been in place since January are dovetailing effectively. "It's going pretty smoothly. Myself and Andy have a good relationship. I feel, and I hope Andy feels the same, that we can talk about where we are and what we want. I'm looking at the one-day squad then have to take into account what Andy wants for the Test team. We certainly haven't had any fallings out."

As part of NatWest's "Big Cricket Ticket Giveaway" cricket fans still have the chance to win tickets to the remaining NatWest Series matches this summer. Follow @NatWest_Cricket on Twitter for your chance to win.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    Put simply, international cricket needs to expand like rugby union. Ireland isn't in the class of England or South Africa but they certainly are at the level of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. With three first-class sides, they should be brought into test cricket within three years. We should not be holding back the development of international cricket. However, they won't be brought in because they are not from the subcontinent. Nepal will earn test status before Ireland!

  • Jason on September 6, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @crockit Ireland are no where near a test playing nation, they have no underlying FC system in place to develop cricketers, and will need more than 3 FC clubs to provide that.

    I suspect they will be ready by 2018/20 and would need to be playing 3/4 FC games against full A-teams from the other nations home and away for about 2-3 years so they can be judged properly. We dont want or need another Bangladesh helping to inflate batsmens averages.

  • Miles on September 6, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    @Glyn Powell, Rankin is from Northern Ireland (as you state), which conveys upon its inhabitants the option to take up British or Irish citizenship. Rankin apparently chose Irish, since he debuted for Ireland in an ODI in 2007. Some time later he chose to "defect" to England for the career opportunities (read, possible Test exposure), but because he had already played international cricket for another nation (Ireland), he had to serve out a waiting period. (I don't recall how long that period is, but it applies to all cricketers who wish to transfer their international allegiance.)

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    Surely Rankin was born in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom, GB & Northern Ireland ( as is Porterfield ) and as such could be considered British whereas Morgan is from Southern Ireland or Eire if you like and as such is not British in the same way. Does this make a difference to the situation? A few seasons back one of the cricket annuals listed Rankin as not being qualified to play for England which considering his place of birth seemed a little odd.

  • Jay on September 5, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    @landl47: The Aussie pitches nowadays are anything but fast and bouncy. I think England should play the same players who played in the UK. With the heat levels rising around the world thanks to our good old Mr.Sun, pitches will resemble sub-continental tracks in the next decade. We have already seen the proof of that this summer where England won the Ashes on slow, low decks with uneven bounce.

  • david on September 5, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    crockit if you listen to switch hit GD said that Warwickshire were paying Rankin £100.000 contract how on earth is he going to play for Ireland. would he get a 1/4 of that. then to go on about Ireland using lineage to bolster the team selection. the other players some mention playing for England through mother/father is exactly what England do but are been called for doing so.

  • charlie on September 5, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Current situation is heartbreaking for Irish cricket. They have made great strides only for their cream to be licked up by English cricket (I am English with no axe to grind). However it is the system and governing bodies at fault here not just individuals and English neo-imperialism bkempster had it right - two-tiers of test-playing nations - it practically exists anyway - with promotion and relegation. However the ECB and others will not look at long-term benefits such as cutting down on the number of games - ODIs in general and English Test fixtures in particular. Until they do, and there is a progressive, professionally-run and meritricious system that genuinely serves the sport, its players and fans EVERYWHERE, then the status quo of vested interests will continue to hold sway. There is a real opportunity here and now to promote and enhance this great game to global proprtions. However the likelihood of that happening remains sadly remote.

  • david on September 5, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Ireland will never be a test playing nation full stop.they neither have the players nor the competition to warrant been a test nation. its nothing to do with England taking their so called best players, i can think of 3 players who in the last 5 years or so have played in various English sides, none so far have shown test class. i can only see 1current Irish player who in a couple of years maybe good enough. they need a pool of 30 players who are all capable of playing 1st class cricket before they could play the minnows of test cricket over 5 days. if and when they get these players they will be like Jack Charlton Irish football side when he had to raid the English leagues to get players whose great great grandads might have Irish heritage, then it was a standing joke. but of course it was ok for the Irish side then because it was players moving the other way

  • G on September 5, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    the one thing I don't understand is how I hear a minority of Irish supporters lambaste England for arrogance, before turning around and crowing about how much better they are than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and that because they've had 2 decent ODI matches in the past 6 years, oh and they are "competitive" at home - i.e. it is not a total walkover for the visiting side. You really couldn't make it up

  • Benn on September 5, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    All this talk of England robbing Ireland of their players is ludicrous. They are offered the opportunity of playing for England. The players themselves make the decision whether to do so or not, NOT the ECB. These same players then go into the pool of players for selection. Interesting to note also is that Morgan and Rankin would be squad players at best if say Pietersen and Broad were available. That gives them England Lions status as players and that is the lever to which Ireland currently plays. Giving them Test status, whilst romantic and laudable will do nothing more than add further congestion to an already over-full international schedule. They can not and should not be considered until there is a proper promotion / relegation Test Chamionship in place.