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“[Rankin] gives us that option, he obviously hasn’t played a Test match or been around the Test match environment before, so interesting to see how he goes”
With pace bowler Tim Bresnan highly unlikely to be fit in time for the first Ashes Test against Australia on November 21 in Brisbane, Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and Boyd Rankin will have to battle against each other for the final bowling spot available on the national team roster.
“It’s quite clear to see that Jimmy and Broady have done enough over their fantastic careers to be first-choice bowlers,” Cook said in Perth. “We tend to play three quicks and a spinner, so there is one space up for grabs. It’s pretty clear for everyone to know that and people have to stick their hand up for selection. If they do really well in these couple of warm-up games in the opportunities they get they’re going to put their name ahead.”
Finn and Tremlett both have Ashes experience as they were part of England’s 2010-11 Ashes squad that triumphed in the Land Down Under, however nobody really knows what Rankin is capable of in Test cricket since he recently completed his move from Ireland to England.
Rankin has been extremely impressive in the five ODIs he has represented England in and as a result, captain Alastair Cook may be willing to take a risk to see what the lanky Irishman is capable of in the longer format of the game.
“We think pace and bounce will be quite crucial on Australian wickets,” Cook said. “I think that’s quite common. Very, very skillful shorter bowlers can have success but, in general, pace and bounce is quite key.
“[Rankin] gives us that option, he obviously hasn’t played a Test match or been around the Test match environment before, so interesting to see how he goes, but I think the next four days might be quite interesting with him, Finny and Broady all bowling.”
Cook also noted that England will mimic the preparations of their Ashes triumph in 2010-11.
“It’s very similar to what we did last time in 2010,” he said. “That should give you enough time in the middle and some miles in your legs for the bowlers. We’ve got a long build-up for it and I think you need that for such an important tour.
“I think we’d be foolish not to look back on what we did on that tour and what we did very well. But you’ve got to remember this is a different side now. Things have evolved. We’ve got different players, different personnel as well. We can look at the right things we did there and try to replicate them but we can’t just copy it outright, because our side is different.”