Rankin to pursue England ambitions

  • Last Updated: August 8 2012, 12:19 BST

Boyd Rankin will retire from international cricket with Ireland in the autumn in a bid to play Test cricket for England.

Boyd Rankin: Wants to play Test cricket

Rankin, who has just signed a new three-year contract with Warwickshire, is available to represent Ireland in the ICC World Twenty20 which starts in Sri Lanka next month, with the squad being finalised this weekend.

But then he wants to concentrate on breaking into the England set-up.

Rankin, 28, said: "It's been a difficult decision for me but I will be retiring from playing cricket for Ireland after the World T20.

"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 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."

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said: "Boyd has been a superb strike bowler for us, particularly in World Cups and qualifying tournaments.

"Time and time again he took vital early wickets and the new-ball partnership he has forged with Trent Johnston has been one of the main reasons for our success since 2007.

"It's obviously a very damaging blow for Ireland, but we've lost players before and bounced back and I'm sure this time will be no exception.

"His absence will create opportunities for others and I'm certain they will grasp them."

Ireland performance director Richard Holdsworth has warned the country will be merely a "breeding ground" for England following the defection of Rankin.

Holdsworth hopes Ireland can stop such defections by graduating to full ICC status - and ultimately a Test playing country - with its greater financial benefits.

He said: "Boyd was offered a significantly improved contract to remain an Irish international cricketer.

"But unfortunately we were unable to compete with the lure of Test cricket and the financial rewards of being a potential England cricketer.

"This further loss only strengthens our aim of becoming a full member of ICC and ultimately a Test-playing country.

"This will be the third Irish player we have lost to the England cause in just six years.

"It is our strong view that we must be given the opportunity very soon to finance a full-time international programme and centrally contract all our players in order to halt this exodus."