William Boyd Rankin
July 05, 1984, Londonderry
Left hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Strabane Grammar School, Harper Adams University College
Boyd Rankin first came to prominence as part of the Ireland team that progressed to the Super Eight section of the 2007 World Cup. Blessed with great height - Rankin is six feet, seven inches tall - he gained bounce from even the most sluggish of surfaces and claimed 12 wickets in the tournament to help his side to notable victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh. Five years later, he made himself unavailable for Ireland in a bid to play Test cricket with England. The move provoked disquiet in his home country but it appeared to have been justified when he was named in England's Ashes squad to tour Australia in 2013-14, after a series of impressive limited-overs displays for his adoptive country. Progress was fitful, though, and he restored his allegiance with Ireland as 2015 drew to a close.
Having spent some time on the staff at Middlesex without ever making it into the first team, Rankin broke into the Derbyshire side on the back of his World Cup success and then moved to Warwickshire at the end of the 2007 season. Hampered by a succession of injuries, it wasn't until 2009 that, having put greater onus on strength and fitness, he began to fulfil his potential. In 2011 he was part of the Ireland side that defeated England in the World Cup game in Bangalore and then passed 50 first-class wickets in a county season for the first time. After one particularly hostile spell in which he struck Marcus Trescothick several times on the body, the Somerset opener praised Rankin for being as good a fast bowler as he faced that season. While consistency and fitness remained an issue, there was little doubt that, when the force was with him, Rankin had the pace, bounce and lateral movement to discomfort any batsman.
Rankin made his England Lions debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka A and was selected on the England Performance Programme later that same year. He came very close to being called-up to the Test squad at the start of 2012 when Chris Tremlett was forced out of the series in the UAE due to injury, but was unavailable due to fitness issues of his own.
After 37 ODIs and 15 T20Is, he retired from Irish cricket towards the end of 2012 in order to concentrate on winning a place in the England Test side. Having struggled to remain injury free, it was made clear to him that his body could not sustain the burden of playing all formats of the game for Ireland, Warwickshire and England Lions. It was also made clear to him by his then club coach, Ashley Giles, that he would not be guaranteed another county contract unless he committed to Warwickshire and England.
After impressing at the start of 2013, Rankin was called into the England squad for the ODI series against New Zealand following injuries to Stuart Broad and Steven Finn. In June that year he played his first game for England, a Twenty20 international against New Zealand. His England ODI debut followed shortly after, ironically in Dublin, where Rankin took a career-best 4 for 46 against his former country, and his returns during the one-day series with Australia were good enough to win him a place in the Ashes squad.
The tour did not go as he would have wished. Overlooked until the final Test, Rankin delivered a nervous performance on Test debut that raised questions about both his temperament and the environment within the England squad. He later revealed that he played the game carrying an injury. He was subsequently omitted from England World T20 squad, but thrown a lifeline latter in the year when he was recalled to the Lions squad for the tour of South Africa. It was a selection that ended any realistic hopes Ireland had of persuading him to return to them for the 2015 World Cup. They had, until then, retained hopes of the ICC providing special dispensation for a speedy return.
Rankin hails from a cricket-playing farming family in Londonderry. Two brothers and a sister have also played representative cricket for Ireland and his career after cricket may well be back on the family farm.
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