No England reunion for Ireland’s Rankin

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LONDON: Ireland paceman Boyd Rankin will miss next month’s two-match one-day international series against England with a back injury, it was announced Tuesday.

Rankin returned to his original national side after an ill-fated spell with England that culminated in a solitary Test appearance against Australia.

But his back problem means the 32-year-old, who plays for English county side Warwickshire, will be sidelined when Ireland face England at Bristol on May 5 and two days later when the Irish play their first ODI at Lord’s.

But experienced batsmen Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling, have both overcome injury problems to be included in Ireland’s 14-man squad.

O’Brien, who hit the fastest World Cup hundred when Ireland upset the odds to record a memorable victory against England at Bangalore in 2011, is fit following hamstring trouble while Stirling, who plays county cricket for Lord’s-based Middlesex, has recovered from a finger injury.

“The opportunity to play England in England and in particular at Lord’s is not only historic, but a great tribute to Irish cricket and its journey,” said Ireland coach John Bracewell.

The former New Zealand off-spinner added: “The 14 selected give us the best balance available to take on England in early May.”

‘No fear factor’

Ireland captain William Porterfield, a Warwickshire colleague of Rankin, said: “I’ve no doubt there will be a massive support at both venues given both the number of Irish around Bristol and in London, never mind the amount of people travelling over.”

He added: “While we’ll certainly respect England, there’s absolutely no fear factor there.

“It helps that there are seven survivors from our World Cup win against them (England), so it shows just how much experience there is in the camp, as well as a number of younger players who have the hunger to make history again.”

England are set to be captained by former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan who, in common with Rankin, switched allegiance to pursue the greater international opportunities that come with representing a fully-fledged Test nation.

But Ireland themselves are now in sight of Test status and Porterfield, contemplating the prospect of leading Ireland out at Lord’s, said: “It’ll be a great honour and a special day for all in Irish cricket.

“I smile when I think that both myself and Eoin (Morgan) played for Ireland Under-13s together and here we will be captaining both sides in a one-day international at Lord’s. It shows just how far Irish cricket has come in a short space of time, but we still have more to travel and offer.

“Hopefully it won’t be too long until we play a Test match at Lord’s.”

Ireland squad for England ODIs at Bristol and Lord’s on May 5 and May 7 respectively:

William Porterfield (Warwickshire/ENG, capt, Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Peter Chase (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Ed Joyce (Sussex/ENG), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex/ENG), Andrew McBrine (NW Warriors), Barry McCarthy (Durham/ENG), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Niall O’Brien (NW Warriors), Paul Stirling (Middlesex/ENG), Stuart Thompson (NW Warriors), Gary Wilson (Derbyshire/ENG), Craig Young (NW Warriors)

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