England eye Rankin
IRISH cricket is in danger of losing another of its stars, with fast bowler Boyd Rankin admitting that he wants to play Test cricket for England.
The towering Derry-born paceman, who has taken 44 championship wickets at 24.93 for Warwickshire this summer, was called up for his England A Lions debut on Tuesday, taking 2-19 against Sri Lanka A -- putting him on senior coach Andy Flower's radar.
"I want to play at the highest level and be the best I can be. I still feel I'm getting better and better and if the chance came I would probably take it," Rankin said. "The ultimate goal is to play Test cricket."
Playing for the Lions will not affect Rankin's eligibility for Ireland, but if he follows Eoin Morgan and Ed Joyce into the senior England side, his services will be lost to his native country -- although he could eventually return, as Joyce did after a four-year re-qualifying process. Rankin has another chance to impress his prospective new team-mates when he plays for Ireland against England in a one-day international at Clontarf on Thursday.
In the fourth Test match at the Oval yesterday, India's bowlers did little to impress on a rain-affected day. Openers Andrew Strauss (38 not out) and Alastair Cook (34 not out) put on 75 in an unbroken first-wicket partnership against an understrength attack.
Left-arm pace bowler RP Singh, who had not played a Test for more than three years, replaced Praveen Kumar, who injured his ankle in the third Test at Edgbaston. Singh set the tone for the day with an opening over described by Ian Botham in commentary as one of the worst he had ever seen.
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