Ireland news August 8, 2012

Rankin set to retire for Ireland

Ger Siggins

Ireland fast bowler Boyd Rankin has announced he will retire from international cricket at the end of the year as he bids to play Test cricket with England. He is the third leading Irish player to do so, following Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan.

Rankin, 28, from Co Derry, has played 79 times for Ireland and was a star of the 2007 and 2011 World Cups. "There's been lots of sleepless nights recently," he told ESPNcricinfo. "It was a very difficult decision, but I will be retiring from playing cricket for Ireland after the World Twenty20, as I feel I can't continue to play the amount of cricket I have been playing with Warwickshire, England Lions and Ireland over the last few years.

"I have genuine ambitions of playing Test cricket and I have to give myself the best chance to do that by reducing my workloads as a fast bowler and concentrating on playing cricket for Warwickshire."

Rankin's contract with Cricket Ireland expires at the end of December, so he is available for selection for the World Twenty20, which starts in Sri Lanka in September. The Cricket Ireland selectors meet this weekend to finalise the squad, which will be announced next week.

Rankin has signed a new three-year deal with English county Warwickshire - whose director of cricket is England selector Ashley Giles - and it is understood that the county put pressure on the 6'8" bowler to retire from international cricket with Ireland. He had returned from Ireland's World Twenty20 qualifier in March with a stress injury to his foot which has ruled him out of his county's season until mid-July.

Giles complained in March: "It's extremely frustrating that we've lost Boyd to this kind of injury. But he has had an extremely large workload over recent months. We will need to manage this to ensure that it doesn't become a regular occurrence."

Previously, Rankin had played for England A in 2011, and was in the touring party to Bangladesh this January before, again, having to return home with injury.

"I've decided to retire for several reasons, and among them is a need to reduce my workload," Rankin said. "Something had to give and unfortunately it had to be Ireland.

"It has become increasingly difficult to play for three different sides throughout the year as it leaves me with little time for rest and recovery."

Rankin has taken 110 wickets for Ireland. First capped as a teenager in 2003, he came into prominence during the 2007 World Cup where he was Ireland's leading wicket-taker. His height meant he could achieve steepling bounce and among his 12 victims were Younis Khan, Michael Vaughan, Ed Joyce, Stephen Fleming, Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers.

Previously with Middlesex and Derbyshire, Rankin joined Warwickshire in 2008 and has taken 128 wickets for the county in 41 first-class matches. In 2011 he claimed 55 scalps, leading to his promotion to the England Performance Programme.