Boyd Rankin has announced his retirement from international cricket for Ireland from the end of December to focus on trying to earn a call-up to play Test cricket with England.

Rankin's contract with Cricket Ireland expires at the end of December, so he will be available for selection for the ICC World Twenty20 which starts in Sri Lanka in September.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons paid tribute to Rankin who has played an integral role as Ireland emerged on the global scene over the past five years: "Boyd has been a superb strike bowler for us, particularly in World Cups and qualifying tournaments.

“Time and time again he took vital early wickets and the new ball partnership he has forged with Trent Johnston has been one of the main reasons for our success since 2007.

"His extra pace and the lift he generates with his height made him a very dangerous proposition for our opponents and none relished facing him.

"It's obviously a very damaging blow for Ireland, but we've lost players before and bounced back and I'm sure this time will be no exception. His absence will create opportunities for others and I'm certain they will grasp them."

Rankin admitted it was a tough decision: "It's been a difficult decision for me but I will be retiring from playing cricket for Ireland after the World T20, as I feel I can't continue to play the amount of cricket I have been playing with Warwickshire, England Lions and Ireland over the last few years.

"I have genuine ambitions of playing Test cricket and I have to give myself the best chance to do that by reducing my workloads as a fast bowler and concentrating on playing cricket for Warwickshire.

"It has become increasingly difficult to play for three different sides throughout the year as it leaves me with little time for rest and recovery, which helps reduce my chance of injury.

"I want to say a massive thank you to Cricket Ireland who have supported me throughout my career and I owe them a lot. They have been very understanding in my decision and I know the door is never closed with them."