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    Rankin to quit Ireland for Tests

    Boyd Rankin, the tall Ireland fast bowler, has announced that he will stop representing his home country at the end of 2012 in an attempt to play Test cricket for England. The 27-year-old pacer has in the past expressed a desire to play Test cricket, and his decision means that he will become the third Irishman after Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan to switch allegiance to neighboring England."There's been lots of sleepless nights recently," he told ESPNcricinfo. "It was a very difficult decision, but I will be retiring from playing cricket for Ireland after the World Twenty20, 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.”Having played in two World Cups and for Warwickshire over much of the past three seasons, the 6 ft 7 in fast bowler Rankin has also been a part of the ECB’s development programme. Ahead of the England Lions’ tour of Bangladesh in January this year, in an interview to Cricketnext, Rankin had stressed his intent to play Test cricket for England. “To play Test cricket is my ultimate goal. I don’t see it happening for Ireland, though it would be a dream to do so. I know the reality, and that’s why I am ready to play for England at Test-match level,” he has said then. “I have to keep pushing myself and make sure I’m capable of playing Test cricket. I’ve got my head down and working hard to achieve my ambition. In the mean time I am fully committed to playing for Ireland. But I know that to play Test cricket I have to target the England squad.”Rankin recently signed a new three-year deal with Warwickshire, a county with which he has enjoyed success. His contract with Cricket Ireland will run out at the end of the year.