Boyd Rankin’will become the first cricketer since Nawab of Pataudi in 1946 to play both for and against England in Test cricket when he lines up for Ireland at Lord’s on Wednesday.
delivery for England in Test cricket was a wicket. It was a happy ending to a difficult match at the SCG on England’s ill-fated tour to Australia in the winter of 2013/14 which ended in acrimony. There were many casualties in the fall-out from that series and one of them was Rankin who never played another Test for England.
However, he now admits that he shouldn’t have played in Sydney at all. “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. In hindsight I shouldn’t have played but when you get an opportunity to play Test cricket it is one you want to take.”
Rankin, who made his international debut for Ireland in 2007, decided to pursue a career with England to reach his ambition of playing Test cricket at a time when his country of birth did not have Test status. He followed in the footsteps of others such as Eoin Morgan and Ed Joyce who made a similar move in search of the better opportunities that England could offer at that stage.
However, Rankin struggled through his one and only Test for England bowling 21 overs in all – his wicket was that of Peter Siddle – and he only played a couple more ODIs for his adopted team afterwards before throwing his lot back in with Ireland after the 2015 World Cup when it became clear that England had moved on.
Despite the difficulties of his first foray into the Test game, he does not regret his time with England nor the tour to Australia. “At that stage of my career there were no real opportunities to play Test cricket for Ireland,” said the 35 year-old. “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.
“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.”
Rankin was part of the team which played in Ireland’s inaugural Test against Pakistan last summer and he will become the first cricketer since Nawab of Pataudi in 1946 to play both for and against England in Test cricket when he lines up for Ireland at Lord’s on Wednesday. “It’s going to be pretty strange for me because I know their guys so well,” he said. “It is a dream come true and it is something I never thought would happen in my playing career.”