Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England pace bowler Boyd Rankin has admitted that he considered quitting cricket after his humiliating Test debut during the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney.
Rankin managed to bowl 20 overs during the match, but left the field on two different occasions due to cramps, which was brought on by the nerves of playing in front of a huge crowd and in the most historic series in the sport.
Rankin also revealed that he had no idea about the serious shoulder injury he was carrying into the fifth Test, which would have contributed to his dismal performance with the ball.
“I wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be in that Sydney game,” Rankin said in his first interview since the playing in the Ashes. “I had torn half the cartilage off my shoulder in a fielding session we had a couple of days before the Test. So I was struggling with that and I had a back spasm during the Test as well.
“I felt I had to play. I had to take my chance, but I don’t suppose I did that, really. I tried to fight hard through that. It was still a special occasion for me, but I did feel I let myself and the rest of the team down. It’s been tough coming back from that.
“I don’t feel I took my chance. I’m sure a lot of people weren’t impressed. Hopefully I can still show people what I’m capable of doing. I didn’t do that during the winter.
“It was a tough period for me when I got back. There were a few days when I was thinking ‘should I still be playing cricket?’ There were quite a few questions asked. But I learned a lot from the experience and I believe it has made me a stronger person. All I can do now is put in some strong performances and see what happens. I know, deep down, what I can do.
“It wasn’t a great environment to be in. It was a really tough tour to be on. A lot of the lads were struggling. It wasn’t a great tour, but I hope I’ve learned a lot from the experience and if it comes again, I hope I can do a lot better.”
Rankin also pointed out that he only found out about his shoulder injury a month ago.
“I only found out about my injury a month ago,” he said. “I asked for a scan and then had a call which said: ‘You might need an op. You could be out for four or five months.’ It’s still giving me some pain, but it’s calmed down quite a lot now.
“We had a fitness and fielding session two days before the Test and I did something to it then. They didn’t pick it up at the time.
“The hardest thing during in the tour was constantly bowling in the nets and not getting any game time. The only way you could work it better would be for the lads who are not playing to play some cricket in terms of matches. But it was difficult to be out of the side and then go straight into a Test. It would have been nice if there was some match practice away from that.”
Even though he did not have a memorable Test debut, Rankin stated that he definitely made the right choice by moving to England from Ireland.
“I would never turn down a tour,” he said. “I still want to bowl fast and I still want to knock people over. If it is the only Test I play, then so be it. I would never change what I have done. I’ve always said I wanted to try and play at the highest level and that is Test cricket.
“I’m trying not to look too far ahead. I just want to get back to enjoying playing cricket. It’s nice to be back playing with the Bears and I’ve felt in decent rhythm these past two days. It’s just nice to be back.”