Joyce welcomes Rankin selection
Nick Royle (Setanta)
Ed Joyce is delighted that Ireland have selected Boyd Rankin in their squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September.
Injury-hit Warwickshire fast bowler Rankin has decided to retire from Ireland duty in order to prolong his county career, and to try break into the England Test team.
Rankin went public with the news last week, but made it clear to coach Phil Simmons that he was still very keen to play for Ireland in the t20 World Cup and then retire at the end of the tournament.
Sussex captain Joyce says that he was worried that the selectors would not pick Rankin for the squad, given Simmons' previous hard line in dropping players he felt not wholly committed to the Irish cause.
Simmons omitted Niall O'Brien from the t20 World Cup qualifiers squad in March after the Northants player missed an Intercontinental Cup match in Kenya to play in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Joyce feared that Simmons might be equally as uncompromising with Rankin, and was relieved to learn that the 28-year-old paceman will be given the chance to end his Ireland career on the big stage.
"Phil is a man who sticks to his guns and makes decisions based on what he feels is right for the future of Irish cricket, and knowing that Boyd would not be playing after the t20 World Cup they could have taken the line not to pick him," Joyce told Setanta Sports.
"But personally I wanted to see him there. He is such a big player for us, one who gives us an extra dimension. He is our premier strike bowler, and there are not that many in the world who are 6 ft 7 and can bowl 90 mph like he does."
Rankin is following a path Joyce himself travelled seven years ago. The 33-year-old, who played 50 times for Ireland between 1997 and 2005, ended his Ireland career in order to try to play Test cricket for England.
Joyce played 17 times for England in one-day cricket, though he never did manage to win that Test cap, before requalifying for Ireland in time to play in the 2011 World Cup.
Joyce has said in the past that he would have never have played for England if he had been allowed to play Test cricket for the country of his birth, and has huge sympathy for the difficult decision Rankin has had to make.
"The system is the thing that is wrong, not Boyd's decision," he said.
"It is wrong that only ten countries can play at the elite level of the game. That is patently wrong, when it forces players to leave Ireland to go to play for England.
"Boyd asked all the Irish players for advice, and I told him to go with what he thought was the right decision, and what choice he would be happiest with at the end of his career."
All-rounder John Mooney is not in the squad after suffering a serious finger fracture at the weekend playing for his club side North County.
Mooney fractured a finger when attempting to take a catch, and ripped the tendon from the bone, an injury that will take 12 weeks to heal.
Mooney has won 134 Ireland caps, and hit the winning runs when Ireland beat England in the 2011 World Cup.
"It's disappointing for both John (Mooney) and the team," coach Simmons admitted.
"He's suffered two finger injuries and this latest one won't heal in time for the start of the tournament. He's been a major part of the team for the last 3 or 4 years and it's disappointing we have to go without him."
Ireland play Australia on September 19 and West Indies on September 24 in their Group B games in Colombo.
Ireland squad: William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Nigel Jones (CSN), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Northants), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Stuart Thompson (Limavady), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).