Bready’s Irish international Boyd Rankin is eagerly anticipating the chance to play in front of a home crowd for the second time, and believes the Irish team playing in the North West is crucial to inspiring the next generation of talent in the region.

“It will obviously be great to be back in the North West playing cricket for Ireland. I played in a T20 last year at Bready against Afghanistan, which was the first time I’d played at the ground internationally – or at any level of cricket really,” said Rankin. “It’s obviously a special feeling to play at my home ground, and there’s normally a pretty good crowd there as well – they’re all pretty cricket-mad up around the North West. So, hopefully the weather stays fine and we can get some good games of cricket in.”

Since finishing his contract with Warwickshire, Rankin has become a senior member of the North West Warriors side in the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series.

“It’s great to be playing for the Warriors full-time now. I’ve played a little bit for them now in all three formats, but to be honest, the last few weeks have been pretty frustrating. We’ve had two T20s washed out there last weekend, and our recent three-dayer was heavily rain-affected. But while there hasn’t been as much cricket as we’d like, I still feel like I’m in a good place with my bowling – I’ve been getting a bit of club cricket in prior to that, and I’ve been training pretty hard, so I still feel I’m in a pretty good position going into the Zimbabwe series.”

“Being in the Warriors set-up and given me a good insight into the talent coming through the system. The talent is certainly there, it’s just all about trying to nurture that talent and to get the best out of them. And I think a key part of inspiring that next generation is getting high-level cricket up in the North West, like this upcoming series against Zimbabwe.”

Asked about the advice he would give any young cricketer hoping to improve their game, he said:

“The biggest thing for me is that you have to enjoy what you’re doing – no matter whether it’s with the bat, the ball or in the field. That brings a lot of energy and usually means you’ll train and play a lot better. For me, if I didn’t enjoy it, I certainly wouldn’t still be playing. Also you’ve got to work hard – nothing worthwhile in sport ever comes easily. It’s important you do put the hours in in the short term for the longer term gain.”

Ireland men’s cricket team will play three one-day internationals and three T20 internationals against Zimbabwe between 1 and 14 July 2019 – three games apiece at Bready and Stormont. As a bonus for local fans, the three T20Is will be doubleheaders, with Ireland Women’s cricket team playing their Zimbabwean counterparts on the same day.

Tickets are now on sale through Ticketmaster or at the gate.

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