Rankin in line for Ireland return ahead of World T20
Boyd Rankin is set to abandon hopes of an England recall and rejoin his native Ireland in time for next year's World Twenty20 in India.
The Warwickshire fast bowler was approached by Ireland in the summer but told them he wanted to wait and see if he would be included in any of England's winter squads. But he has been overlooked for the senior team, and even the England A fast bowlers' camp in South Africa, signalling his chances of an England recall are slim.
He is set to meet Cricket Ireland officials over the next two weeks to thrash out a return. He is eligible for Ireland after January 17, which will mark two years since his last England appearance - in a one-day international in Australia.
Rankin was one of the three giant fast bowlers England thought would win the Ashes that winter but he was overlooked until the final Test in Sydney and suffered an attack of nerves on his debut.
His first match for Ireland could be an Intercontinental Cup game against Papua New Guinea before the World T20 in March.
Meanwhile, Ireland will play one-day internationals against South Africa and Australia next autumn as the ICC's promised expansion of fixtures and tours worldwide starts to take shape.
John Bracewell's team will play their South African hosts on September 25 followed by a clash with world champions Australia two days later as the big guns warm up for a five-match series against each other.
"It's fantastic news for Irish cricket," Bracewell said. "These are exactly the type of fixtures we need to take the game to the next level.
"The players will relish the challenge and along with the home fixtures against Pakistan and Sri Lanka (next summer), we are seeing a much-desired increase in the volume of top-class cricket."
One advantage of playing the major nations is that dates and venues are fixed far enough in advance for travelling fans to plan holidays, whereas, for example, Ireland's next InterContinental Cup match against PNG in late January or early February still has neither.
Meanwhile, Middlesex all-rounder Cath Dalton is heading to La Manga for a training camp with the Ireland women's squad ahead of the World T20 qualifiers. Dalton, who recently gained Irish citizenship, is the one new face in the 14.
IRELAND TRAINING SQUAD - I Joyce (Merrion), C Dalton (Middlesex), L Delany (Leinster), K Garth (Pembroke), C Joyce (Merrion), A Kenealy (Leinster), G Lewis (YMCA), R Lewis (YMCA), C Metcalfe (Pembroke), L McCarthy (Pembroke), L O'Reilly (YMCA), M Scott-Hayward (Merrion), C Shillington (YMCA), M Waldron (Malahide).