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Irish bowled over as Rankin fit for Indies

Ireland's ICC World Twenty20 cricket hopes took a huge boost after it was confirmed that star paceman Boyd Rankin is fit to take part.

The Warwickshire seamer, one of Ireland's success stories on their last high-profile trip to the Caribbean for the 50-over World Cup in 2007, had been suffering with a foot injury.

But after joining a Warwickshire pre-season tour, he was confident he would be ready to join Ireland back in the West Indies -- starting with a warm-up campaign in Jamaica before group matches against the hosts and then England in Guyana.

Spin -- as well as seam -- has proved a major weapon in Twenty20 cricket, and Ireland are well stocked in both categories in the 15-man squad they announced yesterday.

Rankin had to miss Ireland's successful World Twenty20 qualifying campaign in the United Arab Emirates last month but always felt he would be fit for the main event, which starts at the end of next month.

Ireland's squad is otherwise manned by the 14 who helped their country reach the final in the UAE. Rankin, who stands at 6ft 8ins, is one of a clutch of players who have figured both in Ireland's memorable World Cup campaign in the Caribbean three years ago and the World Twenty20 in England last summer.

Among the other familiar names are captain Will Porterfield, his predecessor Trent Johnston and brothers Niall and Kevin O'Brien. Teenage batsman Paul Stirling and the even younger slow left-armer George Dockrell are other notable inclusions.

Ireland sponsors RSA Insurance announced €100,000 of investment to cover the warm-up tour of Jamaica and June's one-day international against Australia in Dublin.