Boyd Rankin will aim to strengthen his case for an Ashes tour call-up when the third one-day international against Australia takes place at his Edgbaston home ground today.
The former Ireland seamer was the lone England bowler to emerge with credit during Australia’s dominant 88-run win in the second ODI at Old Trafford on Sunday that put the tourists 1-0 up with three to play following Friday’s washed-out opener in Leeds.
Australia may have piled up 315-7 yet Rankin still managed to take 2-49 from his 10 overs, a fine return in the circumstances.
Sunday’s match was just the Warwickshire quick’s second ODI for his adopted country but, at 2m tall, Rankin fits the profile of a tall seamer advocated by England’s Australian bowling coach David Saker.
With pitches in Australia, notably Perth, generally offering more pace and bounce than those in the UK, Rankin could yet challenge the likes of fellow towering fast bowlers Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn for the third seamer’s role when England begin their Ashes defense “Down Under” in November.
“I would hope to have the chance to push myself in there,” Rankin said on Monday of a possible call-up to an Ashes squad due to be named in two weeks’ time.
“These ODIs are a great chance to show what I can do,” added the 29-year-old, who has yet to play Test cricket. “I am just trying to concentrate on these ODIs and put a good show on here and hope that would put me in good stead for the winter.”
Someone well aware of Rankin’s ability is Ashley Giles, England’s limited-overs coach, who was previously in charge of Warwickshire.
“I think I was the first signing he made when I came from Derbyshire to Warwickshire, so I obviously know Ash really well over the last six years,” Rankin said.
“He has really helped me over that time,” Rankin added as he acknowledged the input of the former England left-arm spinner.
Even if Rankin misses out on being selected for what is set to be a 17-man Ashes squad, he could still find himself in Australia as a member of the England Performance Program party
“I would be hoping I would be over there in one shape or form,” Rankin said. “It would be really nice to be involved in the Ashes squad, but we will have to just see what happens.”
“I haven’t played in Australia before, but I have heard really good things in terms of the pitches which should suit me. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
However, the task confronting Rankin and his England team-mates right now is to level the one-day series.
When England named their ODI squad, former captain Michael Vaughan suggested fans who paid full price for tickets were due a refund given several first-choice players — captain Alastair Cook, key batsman Ian Bell and bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann — were all being rested ahead of the return Ashes.
Rankin, however, insisted England could still surprise Australia in the remaining one-dayers.
“Obviously, there have been a few lads left out, but there is a lot of young talent there. I still think we can compete and win this series,” he said.
“It didn’t go to plan [at Old Trafford], like we would have wanted, but we are a young side, learning all the time, and we can bounce back for Wednesday,” the Northern Irishman said.