Former Ireland and England bowler Boyd Rankin retires from cricket

Ireland bowler Boyd Rankin, who also enjoyed a brief England career, has announced his retirement at the age of 36.

The 6ft 8in paceman is bidding farewell to competitive cricket 18 years after making his Ireland bow as a teenager.

Rankin was a regular face in county cricket for well over a decade, most successfully during a long stint with Warwickshire, and will go down as one of his country’s best-loved players.

With 161 wickets across all three formats, he sits second only to Kevin O’Brien among Irish wicket-takers and featured in the memorable World Cup wins over Pakistan and England.

He would surely have been out on his own had it not been for his ultimately unsuccessful dalliance with the Three Lions. He stepped away from Ireland duty in 2012 and went on to play seven ODIs, two T20Is and a solitary Test for England.

The latter appearance, an Ashes Test in Sydney in the new year Test of 2014, might have been a crowning achievement but instead ended in disappointment, defeat and a bout of cramp.

Little more than two years later he was back in green and went on to play twice in Test cricket following their admission to the format.

“To retire from international cricket is a tough call, but I feel now is the right time to step away. I have put my heart and soul into playing cricket professionally since 2003 and have loved every minute of it,” he said.

Rankin had a tough time on his only England Test appearance.
Rankin had a tough time on his only England Test appearance (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“I never dreamt I would play for Ireland as much as I did and to travel the world playing in numerous World Cups and to pull on the Irish jersey is something I will never forget. To have also a long career in county cricket, especially during my 11-year stint with Warwickshire where we won the County Championship, 50-over competition twice and the T20 Blast in 2014 was very special and something I am very grateful for.

“I always strived to be the best player I could be and to play at the highest level possible, so to make my Test debut for England during a time when Ireland wasn’t a Test-playing nation was a very proud moment. I will miss all the guys I played alongside the most and enjoying the wins we had along the way.”

Ireland’s head coach Graham Ford added his own tribute.

“Unfortunately Father Time catches up with all cricketers. Sadly it is now Boyd’s time, but he can be so proud of his brilliant career,” he said.

“During my involvement with Cricket Ireland, he has been an ultimate professional, shown great courage while bowling through body niggles and put in many high impact performances.”