Cricket Ireland Media Release
Boyd Rankin is one of Ireland’s lynchpin bowlers, and who will play a pivotal role across all three formats of the game over the next six weeks.
Standing at a height of 6’8”, the 34-year old fast bowler has come a long way since he first stepped out for Ireland at the age of 19 in 2003. He has appeared 118 times for Ireland, and is one of those rare dual-internationals at Test level having also played a Test for England in 2014.
Rankin, who will forever be known as the bowler who claimed Ireland Men’s first Test match wicket, recently announced that he would be joining the North West Warriors in 2019 after officially ending a successful 11-year stint at Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
He said: “The feeling in the squad has been brilliant so far and the likes of these younger players like Getkate, Tector and Tucker coming in and playing with no fear - and having that energy around the squad - has been great. They’ve fully deserved their chance and hopefully they can show what they have been doing with the Wolves. Stirlo [T20 Captain Paul Stirling] has been pretty relaxed but you can see he’s thinking in every situation. He has huge experience of T20 cricket throughout the world so he’s ideally suited to captaining in the format.”
Reflecting upon the opening match of the current tour, he said: “It’s really good to get some competitive cricket again after about five months of no cricket. I’ve been training at Edgbaston through the winter in the indoors and in the gym, so pretty much same as what I have always done apart from not being directly involved with Warwickshire anymore. They have been really good about allowing me to use their facilities there has been great while I’m still based in Birmingham.
“The first week out here in Oman has been great and the facilities here are top-class. I’ve been enjoying getting some outdoor practice in and getting some overs in the legs.
“Conditions here aren’t easy as a fast bowler, as wickets have been slow and low, but I’ve tried to just get back to finding my rhythm outdoors and hitting the pitch as hard as I can. You need to be on the top of your game on these wickets as any margin of error will make it easy for the batsmen to score. Slower ball variations and yorkers will be important throughout this tour and India so it’s just trying to improve every chance you train and play and the blowers have been working hard so far.”
Asked about his mental and physical approach to the long tour, and multi-format nature of upcoming matches, he said: “Mentally it’s important to get away from cricket on days off and keep yourself fresh, as it is a busy tour - but nothing I haven’t been through before. As a fast bowler, games take a lot out of you. Recovery is really important and something our Strength & Conditioning Coach and Physio help with a lot the day after a game or during a Test match in the evening.
“Mobility has always been big for me to make sure I stay flexible in order to be able to continue to bowl with pace and consistency. Hydration is also very important to keep on top of and something we get tested each morning before a game or training. I’m always carrying a bottle of water around with me and sipping when I can.
“Nutrition, and getting the right foods on board at the right time, can have major benefits on the field as well. Things like protein shakes and getting extra salts on board to stop cramping are all part of a fast bowler’s routine.
“I have a routine that I ice my feet for 15 minutes after every time I bowl. It's the nicest thing to do, and the rest of the lads say they don’t know how I do it, but it’s just something I have done for the last 6 or 7 years and helps with my recovery.
“Getting in light gym sessions to keep topping up on strength is crucial as well on a long tour like this. I have my routines that I will always do the morning of a game in terms of getting myself where I need to be to be able to bowl and perform. There are so many things that people don’t see happening behind the scenes but we are constantly doing thing to help us perform better on the field to give yourself the best chance.”
Asked about his bowling approach and techniques, he said: “T20 is more about having the variations and skills to bowl at any point of the game and being able to execute. 50-over and Test cricket on the other hand is more to do with bowling your best ball over-and-over for the majority of the game, and being as consistent as you can with that. The back-end of 50-over is similar to T20 in many ways - with all the white ball cricket it’s just being really clear in plans you have and bowl to that plan. And it's all down to taking one game at a time and concentrating on that one game.
“Every bowler has their strengths and what they prefer to bowl at certain stages of an over and game. It's each bowler’s responsibility to set their field as they know what they want to bowl, but bowling as a partnership in T20 is crucial as well. A couple of good overs in partnership could have a massive impact on the game.
“It also is very important we bowl in partnerships depending on what end you bowl, ground dimensions, wind etc etc. All these factors have to be taken into account when coming up with a plan and as a bowling group we would chat about these scenarios before the game so we are clear what we are looking to do. As the senior bowler, so to speak, in the team it's my role along with Stirlo [Captain Paul Stirling] to help the younger bowlers out during the game where I can if they aren’t quite sure about the plan they want.”