Graeme Welch believes Boyd Rankin’s retirement from international cricket with Ireland will do his prospects of development as a bowler with Warwickshire – and potentially England – “the world of good”.
Bears bowling coach Welch is looking forward to putting in some serious hours with Rankin at Edgbaston after the big paceman quit the Ireland set-up after the Twenty20 World Cup.
Rankin will now be free from the Ireland match, travelling and training obligations, which have overcrowded his workload since he joined Warwickshire in 2008.
The 28-year-old knows he needs to make the most of every year left in his career – and, above all, to stay fit – to achieve his ambition of playing Test cricket for England.
He has made a sensible decision believes Welch, who reckons Rankin is now ready to move forward again after a 2012 campaign in which he never fully fired after missing months of cricket due to a foot injury.
“Retiring from playing for Ireland will do Boyd the world of good,” said Welch. “In the limited time I had with him last winter I got him aligned better and we got his action repeating a little bit more, but that is just the start of it.
“If you look at Boyd’s career he has been coming back from injury virtually all through it because of the demands put upon him, but in 2011 he had a whole season, really got into it and bowled very well.
“I think he felt a little bit of pressure last season coming back at such an important stage of it. He had been watching from afar and seeing how well the lads were bowling but I kept telling him if he had one, two, three spells at his best he was going to win us the championship.
“He didn’t really find his rhythm but still chipped in with some very useful wickets.”
When Welch gets working with Rankin after the players reassemble at Edgbaston next month, one factor very low on the agenda will be aggression.
The 6ft 8in Irishman is something of a gentle giant and certainly not one to rant and rave at batsmen as some fast bowlers do. And that’s fine by the bowling coach.
“People think Boyd should be all about aggression and in the batsman’s face,” he said. “They talk about the Hampshire game at the Rose Bowl a few years ago when apparently he got angry and frightened them to death.
“But that’s actually not how you go about it and it’s not about how Boyd likes to go about it.
“It’s not about getting angry, it’s about planning and knowing exactly what he should be doing. Boyd likes it that way. That’s how he works. He doesn’t just bowl fast when the red mist comes down. It’s about bowling smart not bowling angry.”
* Zimbabwe national team selector and former fast bowler Kevin Curran has died at the age of 53, Zimbabwe Cricket have confirmed.
Curran, who had been coaching Zimbabwean franchise Mashonaland Eagles, collapsed while jogging in Mutare on Wednesday morning, with the exact cause of death to be determined.
Curran also served as national team coach of Zimbabwe between 2005 and 2007.
Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa said: “We are still in shock, Kevin was the epitome of health and we have yet to make sense of this tragic loss.
“The cricket fraternity has been dealt a great blow.”