BOYD Rankin became the first Ireland-born international to play as an overseas player in county cricket on Friday night when he made his debut for the Derbyshire Falcons in their Vitality Blast T20 game against the Northants Steelbacks.

It’s only a temporary return to the county circuit – and only for the Blast tournament which continues throughout this month – for Rankin who was released last year by Warwickshire after a 10-year career at Edgbaston.

It is a mutual agreement between all three parties as Derbyshire wanted “an additional fast bowler to strengthen our current squad for the T20”, Ireland are keen to have all their players get as much T20 cricket before the T20 World Cup qualifiers in October and Rankin has “always enjoyed T20", and returns to the county he played with for two years in 2006-07.

Derbyshire have eight more T20 games until August 26 when Rankin will than join up with Belfast Titans for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam.