Boyd Rankin says disastrous England Test debut should not have happened

Opening bowler says ‘dream come true’ to play for Ireland in historic Test at Lord’s

 Ireland bowler Boyd Rankin  stretches during a training session at Lord’s ahead of the Test match against England, which gets underway on Wednesday morning. Photograph:   Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ireland bowler Boyd Rankin stretches during a training session at Lord’s ahead of the Test match against England, which gets underway on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

 

As Boyd Rankin prepares to realise his dream of playing for Ireland against England at Lord’s on Wednesday he admits his Test debut for his adopted country in 2014 should never have happened.

Before Ireland gained Test status in 2017 Rankin looked destined to become one of the long line of one-Test wonders following a nightmare debut against Australia in the final match of the 2013-14 Ashes series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

England lost the match in two and half days to seal a miserable 5-0 whitewash as a team who had reached No 1 in the world 18 months earlier fell apart on a shambolic Ashes tour.

Amid the chaos Rankin was handed a Test debut and took the wicket of Peter Siddle with his final ball. However, what preceded that had been humiliating as he was twice forced to leave the field through injury.

Now 35, the fast bowler has spoken publicly about the experience for the first time and said that, after sustaining a shoulder injury in the days leading up to the match, he should not have played.

“I hurt my shoulder a few days before the Test and I wasn’t fully fit going into the game,” Rankin said. “I felt I had to give it a go. It was one of those that I didn’t know how bad it was until I got back home.

Boyd Rankin speaks to England captain Alastair Cook after he suffered a leg injury during day one of the fifth Ashes Test match against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 3rd, 2014. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Boyd Rankin speaks to England captain Alastair Cook after he suffered a leg injury during day one of the fifth Ashes Test match against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 3rd, 2014. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“In hindsight I shouldn’t have played but when you get an opportunity to play Test cricket it is one you want to take.

“It was a tough tour to start with. I made my debut and it was a blur, to be honest. I have still got my shirts and caps.

“They will be cherished as that is a big part of where I have been.

“It didn’t go to plan for me but that is the way it goes sometimes. That is a long time ago and now I am back playing for Ireland full-time and that is what I am concentrating on.”

The four-day match at Lord’s will be Ireland’s first Test against England. “You can’t get much better than that,” Rankin said. “It is a dream come true and it is something I never thought would happen in my playing career.”

If, as expected, Rankin realises that dream he will become the first man to play for and against England in a Test match since the Nawab of Pataudi took the field for India at the Oval in 1946 against a team captained by Wally Hammond.

Having made his second Test ‘debut’ for Ireland against Pakistan last year Rankin can look back on his time with England, which also included seven one-day and two T20 internationals, with no regrets.

“At that stage of my career there were no real opportunities to play Test cricket for Ireland,” said the former Derbyshire and Warwickshire bowler. That has changed now but at that time I wanted to play at the highest level and that was the only way I could do it.” – Guardian

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