Rankin to miss Australia and Afghanistan games
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Boyd Rankin will not be involved in Irelandís one-day international against Australia at Stormont next month and could miss Irelandís entire summer of cricket.
Although the game against the worldís No 1 one-day side is still more than six weeks away, Irelandís main strike bowler, who had such a successful World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in March, told me yesterday that the the stress reaction of his right foot is taking longer to heal than expected.
The injury was always going to keep Rankin out of county action for at least two months but now it is looking more like three and, effectively, he has no chance of being match fit to take on the Australians.
And with Irelandís only other two confirmed one-day internationals of the season following just 10 days later, the World Cricket League games against Afghanistan in Clontarf, even they seem certain to come too quickly for Rankin to return to the international side.
"The target was to get playing again for Warwickshire in the middle of June but that has now been put back, possibly to the middle of July. Realistically, if I don't make the Australia match I would have little chance of being ready for the Afghanistan games," said Rankin.
So, it could be September, and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka before the 6ft 8ins paceman appears in the blue and green which is a big blow for Ireland, especially after his star performances in Dubai when he won three successive man of the match awards.
Among the contenders to replace him this summer is Graeme McCarter who took three wickets on his debut for Gloucestershire on Monday in a five wickets win over Middlesex at Lordís.
McCarter, the Fox Lodge pace bowler who will be a leading member of the Ireland Under 19 squad which heads to the World Cup finals in Australia at the end of July, made a very encouraging first appearance for his county and actually outbowled Tim Murtagh, the newly Irish qualified player who was an unused replacement in the World T20 qualifiers.
McCarter, who was entrusted with the last over of the innings against Middlesex, and bowling full and straight was rewarded with his third wicket.
Earlier, he had come on first change, but bowled only three balls to Ireland international Paul Stirling who made his seasonal debut for Middlesex, batting at No3 in the CB Pro 40 game. Stirling scored 25 off 21 balls with three fours.