Opening bowler Boyd Rankin moved a step closer to joining the list of Irish cricketers to play for England yesterday after he was named in the second-string Lions squad for their tour to Bangladesh next month.

The 27-year-old from Co Derry has been part of England's fast bowler development programme in recent years, but the one-day games against Bangladesh A will be his first representative games for the county. They do not affect his participation with Ireland.

Rankin will miss the first two games of the Lions' tour in Chittagong after being named in the ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate squad that will take on the full England side in a three-day game in Dubai from January 7th as they prepare for their games against Pakistan in the emirate .

Ireland skipper William Porterfield has been named captain for the match at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, with fellow Irish internationals Paul Stirling and George Dockrell also included in the 12-man squad.

'It will be a great honour for me to lead out the Associate and Affiliate team against the number-one team in the longer format of the game,' Porterfield said of his appointment.

'If you look through their squad they are full of world-class cricketers and it will be a great test for us against whatever 11 they put out.

'Another challenge we face is coming together as a group ourselves. We have played against each other a few times but we will have to gel pretty quickly in the few days' preparation we have in order to put in a good performance. As this is such a great chance for all the individuals to showcase their talent against the number one Test team in the world, I do not see this being an issue at all.'

COMBINED ASSOCIATE/AFFILIATE (Squad v England, Dubai, January 7th-9th): W Porterfield (Ireland, capt), S Ali (UAE), K Coetzer (Scotland), G Dockrell (Ireland), M Haq (Scotland), H Hassan (Afghanistan), M Nabi (Afghanistan), B Rankin (Ireland), M Shahzad (Afghanistan), P Stirling (Ireland), C Viljoen (Namibia), C Williams (Namibia).

ENGLAND LIONS (Squad): J Taylor (Nottinghamshire, capt), J Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), S Borthwick (Durham), D Briggs (Hampshire), J Brooks (Northamptonshire), N Buck (Leicestershire), J Buttler (Somerset), A Hales (Nottinghamshire), S Kerrigan (Lancashire), T Maynard (Surrey), S Meaker (Surrey), T Mills (Essex), B Rankin (Warwickshire and Ireland), J Root (Yorkshire), J Roy (Surrey), J Vince (Hampshire).