Ireland's Craig Young praises good friend Boyd Rankin

Bready native Craig Young has paid tribute to friend and former Ireland team-mate Boyd Rankin whom he says has played a major role in his up turn in form over the last few years.

Sunday, 17th October 2021, 7:00 am
Ireland bowler Craig Young can’t wait for next Monday’s ICC T20 Men’s World Cup opener against Netherlands.

The 31-year-old, who also praised Ireland coach Graham Ford, NW Warriors coach, Gary Wilson and team-mate William Porterfield, described the advice he’s received from Rankin as priceless to his progress.

“The boys have all come in and done really well as coaches. Those boys have probably forgotten more about cricket than most actually know, so you’d be crazy not to tap into that,” insisted Young.

“Purdy (William Porterfield) is probably our best ever fielder while the amount of games Willow (Gary Wilson) has played and then Boyd, there’s not much Boydy hasn’t done on a cricket field and I still text him every day since I have been out here with Ireland.

“I tell him when I’ve had a bad session and a good session. I just bounce things off him. Having that access to Boyd over the last two or three years and being able to use his experience or just run my thoughts by him to get his view on things, that has been brilliant.

“It’s great having his phone number and great I only live five minutes away from him. I would say he has been a big factor for me and it looks good going forward for the North West with those three lads around us now.

“The more you get on and the more cricket you play, the more you actually realise what makes you tick. I would say over the last three years I have figured out that if I can get my run-up right and get my rhythm right, then everything else takes care of itself. If I can look after all that then that gives me my best chance to do well.

“Having someone like Fordy has made sure that I have looked after all that and that I haven’t just done well and then eased off. Now I’m just trying to maintain those standards on but when someone like Gary (Wilson) comes into the Warriors set-up, he pushes that on again.

“He really pushed us on as a team this year. I was just saying to him recently that there has been a lot of wet days this year when I’d have been going to training just assuming that we would be bowling indoors. I wouldn’t be a big massive fan of bowling indoors but Gary would always be pushing for a wicket. Sometimes we were training in the rain and even if you only bowled six or seven balls with a full run up, it was still better than bowling indoors, especially during the season.

“Being pushed that way has helped me a lot, it helps doing the hard yards and doing the ugly stuff.”

Now heading into his fourth World Cup with Ireland, Young is excited about next Monday’s ICC T20 World Cup opener against Netherlands.

“It started a long time ago for us but, yeah, it all comes down to the big showdown on Monday. Everybody is in a good frame of mind and in a good place,” he added, “It has been tough, but everyone is happy enough with everything.

“The heat has made things tough. We’re actually in Abu Dhabi at the minute and it’s nowhere near as warm as it was in Dubai, which is only an hour and 10 minutes away. The heat in Dubai was scary but as I said we are all raring to go and itching to get at it.

“This will be my fourth involvement in the World Cup so I’m a veteran now but they are always special occasions. I’m so grateful to have been involved in so many and hopefully I can play a big part in this one as well.

“These tournaments don’t come around that often and any chance you get you want to do yourself justice and make everybody proud. From our point nothing changes, we always want to go as far as we can by just taking each match as it comes and seeing how we do. We are usually quite a good tournament team so hopefully that continues to be the case and we can keep pushing on.

“I feel more confident than I have in a long time. I felt in good rhythm bar the last game in the Zimbabwe series when I injured myself and was struggling a bit to shake that off at the start of this trip, but I’m flying now. I’m injury free and haven’t have any relapses so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going.”

Looking further ahead, the former Sussex man believes the new look Inter-Provincial Series will benefit both the Warriors and Irish cricket in the long term.

“You might not see the benefit of the way it has been switched around next year but hopefully over the next four or five years you’ll have another crop of north west young talent coming through from watching the Warriors. Then hopefully you can go back to playing all your own home grown players but for Ireland’s cause it was important to get the best playing the best and it definitely helped us in some areas where we were slacking,” he insisted.

“Everybody has loved the set-up. You look at the Munster Reds coming in for the 20/20 stuff, they had one of the best batting line-ups in the competition and that wouldn’t have been the case a year ago so everyone needs a good pat on the back for that and hopefully we can keep that going. I feel it will only benefit the North West and Cricket Ireland.”