Boyd Rankin, the England fast bowler, has admitted that nerves got the better of him after he endured a forgettable Test debut against Australia in Sydney last week.
The Irishman, who quit playing for his homeland in order to play the longest format in international cricket, was finally given his chance to impress in the fifth and final Ashes Test, having been left kicking his heels on the sidelines for most of the tour.
He took the wicket of tail-ender Peter Siddle for match figures of one for 81, while also being forced to leave the field on two separate occasions in Australia's first innings. That was as a result of cramp.
Loading article content
It made for an ignominious display and several pundits have questioned whether Rankin will play Test cricket again. The Warwickshire player is inclined to be positive over his future but did struggle with the pressure in Australia.
"I'd worked hard for a long time to get here and, don't forget, gave up my Ireland career, so when the team was named the day before the Test, it made it all worthwhile," said Rankin. "It was at lunchtime that I started getting cramp and I was fighting against it through my second spell. I have rarely suffered from cramp in the past, I think the last time was against England at the World Cup in 2007, another big occasion. I suppose it was down to nerves and, of course, I hadn't played for five weeks. It was just impossible to keep going."
The 29-year-old is eager to return to the England side in future, though. "Now that I've got a taste of it, I have the urge to work even harder and play a few more," Rankin added. "I have learned so much from those three days in terms of what I want to do if I get another chance."