Ireland have been dealt a blow ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in UAE with Boyd Rankin forced out of the event with his ongoing foot injury. He withdrew from the current tour of Sri Lanka and has been advised a further three week's rest although scans have shown no fracture.
Rankin is Ireland's leading pace bowler and he has yet to be replaced in the squad for the UAE tournament, which will decide the Associate nations that will play at the ICC World Twenty20 in West Indies which starts at the end of April.
Nigel Jones took Rankin's place for the trip to Sri Lanka and will likely retain his place for the Twenty20 event but Rankin's wicket-taking ability will be sorely missed.
Rankin, who plays for Warwickshire, has caught the attention of the England selectors and was included in the fast bowling programme for the 2009-10 winter. Although he has only managed three wickets in four Twenty20 internationals he has an impressive tally of 28 at 24.75 in 20 ODIs.