The ECB today announced squads for an enhanced England Performance Programme beginning in November, involving a total of 41 players divided into squads according to their differing stages of development.

Boyd Rankin is included among a group of young fast bowlers selected as part of the Programme will also spend time at a conditioning camp in Florida and at the MRF Fast Bowling Camp in Chennai under the guidance of Australian legend Dennis Lillee.

Warwickshire paceman Rankin's inclusion will be a major concern for Ireland, as they have already lost the services of Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan to the clutches of England in recent years.

Ireland have managed to unearth a number of batting talents in recent years to fill the gaps left by their high profile departures, but the bowling department is looking increasingly slim, and if Rankin defects to Ireland's near neighbours, then their hopes of permanent ODI status would be badly dented.