Warwickshire: Boyd Rankin close to return for Bears after injury

Warwickshire are expected to have fast bowler Boyd Rankin fit for next week's first County Championship away game of the season against Somerset at Taunton.

The 6ft 8ins Irishman, who made just six four-day appearances for the county champions last summer, missed the pre-season warm-up with a foot injury.

But the 28-year-old has responded to a rehabilitation programme at Edgbaston.

Keith Barker and Chris Woakes return to bolster the attack for this week's visit of Durham.

Missing Bears

  • Prior to England's Test series against New Zealand, which starts on 16 May, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are only available for the County Championship games against Sussex (1-4 May) and Middlesex (8-11 May) and the YB40 game against Kent (6 May).
  • Boyd Rankin (due to return next week), Darren Maddy (out of favour)

They are in a 12-man squad, only young paceman Tom Milnes missing out after last week's rain-affected draw against Derbyshire.

Barker, who took 56 Championship wickets last summer at an average of 20.82 to top the averages, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered at the pre-season training camp in Barbados.

He missed the champion county game against the MCC in Abu Dhabi and last week's rain-affected Championship opener against Derbyshire.

Ashes Test hopeful Woakes, who also missed the drawn Derbyshire game on the orders of the England and Wales Cricket Board, is available to face Durham on Wednesday, then the trip to play Sussex at Hove, which begins on 1 May.

His schedule is then due to be reviewed by the ECB.

As for Rankin, Bears director of cricket Dougie Brown admitted: "He had a lot of bad luck with injury last year.

"But I've been watching him closely in training and he's bowling faster than ever.

"He's itching to get back out on the field and prove exactly why he has a reputation for being one the most unpleasant bowlers to face on the county circuit."

Warwickshire squad to play Durham (from): J O Troughton (capt), V Chopra, I J Westwood, W T S Porterfield, L J Evans, T R Ambrose (wk), R Clarke, T P Milnes, J S Patel, C J Wright, O J Hannon-Dalby, K H D Barker, C R Woakes.