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Ireland open door to Rankin return

George Dobell

May 27, 2014

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Boyd Rankin removed William Porterfield for 112, Ireland v England, one-off ODI, Malahide, September 3, 2013
Ireland would welcome back Boyd Rankin should he wish to switch his allegiance from England © Getty Images
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A day after Boyd Rankin revealed his time on England's Ashes tour led him to contemplate giving up the game, Cricket Ireland has expressed the hope that the fast bowler could still play for them at the 2015 World Cup.

Rankin retired from playing for Ireland towards the end of 2012 and made his England debut last year before playing in the last Test of the Ashes series in January. But, after enduring an unhappy tour, Rankin appears to have slid down the pecking order of prospective England fast bowlers and might be open to the possibility of a return.

While there is a qualifying period of two years for players returning to play for Associate nations after having represented Full Member nations - it was recently reduced from four years - the ICC does have the ability to waive this in the case of exceptional circumstances. Precedent was set when they allowed Ed Joyce to return to Ireland duty less than four years after he represented England. Then, as now, the catalyst was the prospect of a World Cup.

"There is, in the higher echelons of the ICC, some sympathy for the view that the best players for each nation should appear in the World Cup," Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, told ESPNcricinfo.

"There is a sense that it would be a shame if a player like Boyd was not there. And that has given me a sense that all is not lost in the hope to see him playing for Ireland in the World Cup."

Several substantial obstacles remain before such a dream could become a reality, though. Not least, the fact that Rankin himself has not been consulted on the idea and the fact that both the ECB and Warwickshire would have to agree. The ICC would also have to agree to make a special dispensation for Rankin.

While that would, in the short term, be of benefit to Ireland, it might have a less positive impact for Associate nations in the long term. If other players feel there is the prospect of little penalty should they abandon their Associate team in the hope of playing for a Full Member nation, it could lead to a further dilution in the quality of the game below Test level.

William Porterfield, the Ireland captain and a team-mate of Rankin's at Warwickshire, said: "I haven't spoken to Boyd, but I'm pretty sure he still harbours the aspiration of getting into more England sides and doing well for England. But he bowls upwards of 90mph and, if was to become available, then as far as I'm concerned he is more than worthy of a place."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (May 29, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

People forget that people represent other countries from which they were born in all the time in other sports.

The Irish football team qualified for the 1994 with many more non Irish born players compared to the non English born cricketers who represent England Cricket team and that year England didn't qualify for the WC.

Personally I'd like ICC to have a rule whereby generally a player who has been capped at senior level can't switch countries. I would say with Irish players they should be allowed to play test cricket for another country - until Ireland become a test playing nation but if they have been capped by Ireland at senior level in shorter formats then they should continue to play for Ireland so their cricket is able to flourish

Posted by   on (May 29, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

Jumping ship to an Associate member country should have no stand down period at all providing it is the country of your birth.

But there should be a stand down period of two years every time they want to go back to one of the big boys.

Posted by   on (May 29, 2014, 7:33 GMT)

Let him play for Ireland. The world cup deserves to have the best players of each country on show. Rankin is from Northern Ireland, Let him play for them. I agree they should be given their chance at playing test matches. Can't do any worse then some of the nations that can play test matches. They may get a hiding from some of the top teams but they given a lot of sides a hiding. ICC give them the chance to play tests.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (May 29, 2014, 1:56 GMT)

like another commenter said, grant Ireland test status. they are the most quality side in the associates along with Afghanistan. they can play regularly with Bangladesh and zimbabwe and W.I. the game needs to be expanded and ireland deserve it too..but i'm afraid ECB will block the move!

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 28, 2014, 19:26 GMT)

@Prash Patel, You are wrong, you can play for more than 1 national team in Football. Diego Costa won 2 caps for Brazil in 2013 & this year was capped by Spain and will go to the WC with then fitness permitting.

Posted by JG2704 on (May 28, 2014, 15:00 GMT)

Got to be honest it seems a bit farcical that a player can play for one country at full international level and then play for another country within such a short space of time. It then seems more farcical still that a player can go back to his bithplace country so quickly after playing his last game for his adopted country. I have no issue whatsoever with a player representing a country which he was not born in but surely there should be a lengthier qualifying period. If you look at the players (not born in the UK) who represented England yesteryear (Hick,Smith,Lamb,Caddick etc) , I'm don't think any of them represented their respective birthplace countries at full international level and certainly if they did they had to go through a lengthy qualifying period. I remember Hick seemed to be in his best domestic form a year or so before he qualified.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2014, 10:22 GMT)

I'm afraid International cricket is becoming a farce by allowing players to keep jumping which Country they play for! !

Posted by   on (May 28, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

I think Rankin should have to wait the full period and they should not allow any players to change their nationality, football has you commit to one nation and cricket should do the same, the associate sides are having their best players cherry picked and can not improve to gain test status if they can not keep their players, they should introduce some sort of second division with all current test status sides in division one and 1-2 having to fight for their status: Keep Australia, england, india, new zealand, pakistan, south africa, sri lanka, west indies, with 2 more sides making up division one so zimbabwe and bangladesh fighting to retain their spots with the likes of afghanistan, ireland etc all to push them form division 2

Posted by KDLarsen on (May 28, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

Lest we forget why he changed to allegiance in the first place: He was told by his club coach (Ashley Giles, who incidently became England coach the same year) that unless he committed to Warwickshire and England, he would not be guaranteed a new contract. Coming after a lengthy injury spell, Rankin had no other choice but to accept it.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

This problem can be resolved by giving Ireland Test Status now, even if it is not possible to include them in the future tours programme or include them in the Test rankings immediately. They could be allowed one off test matches against anyone who can fit them in and longer series with the likes of Zimbabwe.

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