Rankin eyes more strides with England
Updated: Monday, 09 Sep 2013 22:10
Boyd Rankin is well aware the big time could be just around the corner if he can continue to impress England's selectors in the NatWest Series.
Rankin marked only his second one-day international for his adopted country, after switching allegiances from Ireland, with an eye-catching performance in England's 88-run defeat against Australia at Emirates Old Trafford.
His figures of two for 49 were in no way flattering, and it was a minor breakthrough for the 6ft 7in Warwickshire bowler that he was the only one in England's experimental squad who could exert any consistent measure of control as Australia piled up 315 for seven.
More of the same, or even better, may be enough to sneak a late seat on the plane to Australia next month with England's full Test squad for the Ashes.
England bowling coach David Saker is an advocate of the effectiveness of tall seamers - and with the pace and bounce in Perth and elsewhere being factored into this winter's campaign, Rankin could yet find himself vying with Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn for the third seamer's role down under.
Rankin's next port of call is on Wednesday at Edgbaston, where England must win to stay in with a chance of winning the NatWest Series from 1-0 down with three to play.
He heads there with confidence high, and stakes too.
"I would hope to have the chance to push myself in there," he said of a possible Ashes call-up to a squad expected to be announced in two weeks' time.
To do so, though, Rankin knows he cannot afford to get ahead of himself - and must keep his mind very much in the present.
"These ODIs are a great chance to show what I can do," he said.
"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."
England's limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is another handy ally in a high place.
"Yes, he is," said Rankin.
"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.
"He has really helped me over that time."
The direct route to the Ashes will be inclusion in a likely 17-man squad - but with the England Performance Programme set to shadow the touring party down under, Rankin knows a place there could pay off too.
"I would be hoping I would be over there in one shape or form.
"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."
Rankin was one of few success stories for England in a disappointing opening contest - the scheduled first match was washed out in Leeds - from a team, under stand-in captain Eoin Morgan, which features a clutch of emerging players while more familiar ones are being rested.
England's policy of experimentation has been criticised in some quarters.
"It does hurt a little bit, but I think we have a really strong squad," said 29-year-old Rankin.
"Obviously, there has 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.
"It didn't go to plan, like we would have wanted. But we are a young side, learning all the time, and we can bounce back for Wednesday."
He is happy to take on the mantle, alongside Finn, of leading the attack - having spent five years doing so for Ireland.
"I have had quite a bit of experience with Ireland in terms of World Cup, which helps whenever you come into this environment.
"So I suppose with myself and Steve Finn, in terms of the new bowlers, it puts a bit of responsibility on me.
"I think I react well to that.
"When I was in Ireland I was the leader of their attack, and I have done quite well when given the extra responsibility."