The six foot seven giant from Ireland, Big Boyd Rankin, has been brought into the England squad as injury cover. On the face of it, that sounds just fine. Boyd is a tall and genuinely fast bowler. However, he plays for Warwickshire – Ashley Giles’s county. A few twitter folks raised eye brows, a few were vicious in their criticism of the King of Spain (Ashley), while others thought it a fine choice and suggest that being so cynical is unwarranted.

I fell somewhere between, and thought I’d turn to cold statistics for support – in either direction. Firstly, let us look at the Big Boyd himself. 43 wickets, from 37 ODIs for Ireland at an average of 32.3 with an economy of 4.9. Pretty respectable. 90 wickets, from 76 List-A matches, at an average of 29, with an economy of 5.02. OK .. nothing really to go on either way. Solid, yet unremarkable. Clearly it must be his current form that helped.

Here are all the bowling statistics for 2013 List-A matches. So where’s Boyd? Oh .. he’s not in the top 50. It must be his first class form. Let’s check the 2013 first-class matches. Oh, he’s not there either. How strange. Mind you, the season is still new, let’s check last year. So here are the winners from 2012 List-A matches. Now this is really odd. He’s absent again. Final chance Ash, 2012 First-class matches. Bloody hell Ashley, what have you done? He’s not there either?!

Statistically, I can find ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for picking Boyd Rankin. Ashley Giles, this looks like a “Buddy Pick” and is a terrible decision that makes you look unbelievable one-eyed. If you wanted to pick a Warwickshire player, how about one who has taken wickets – you know, like Chris Wright?!

After a (very) rapid Chris Wright check, on those 4 lists, he is 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, and one 3rd-from-bottom. Oh yes, he’s tall too.

AND spare a thought for Ireland … who incidentally Boyd didn’t play for last week against Pakistan … who might well need him more than England.

Sorry, but doing this has made me really cross – no Christmas card for you this year Mr Giles

KIM has brought to my attention that he was injured for much of 2012, which his explains his absence from those lists. Kim also adds that, in terms of bowling strike rates, his 45.2 after 57 first-class games tops the pile. Onions (47) , Fin (49) are only other England contenders who have a strike rate of under 50 after more than 50 games. Impressive.