15 July 2013
Trent Johnston to retire from international cricket
The 39 year-old will call it a day in December, after having played 186 times for Ireland since his debut back in May 2004
Ireland's bowler Trent Johnson bowls.
Trent Johnston will retire from international and representative cricket after the ICC Intercontinental Cup final in Dubai in December, which takes place following the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2013.
The 39 year-old, who has played 186 times for Ireland since his debut back in May 2004, will bow out in the UAE after a career which has coincided with Ireland's meteoric rise on the global cricketing stage. He outlined the reason for calling time on his glittering career. "It's been a difficult decision and I've racked my brains ever since I came back from the UAE in March. It's becoming harder to recover after matches now, so much so that I can hardly walk for a couple of days.
"Indeed after that UAE tour, it took me a full week to recover and my young son Charlie and daughter Claudia were having to pull on and off my socks, so that was quite embarrassing! I knew then my time was limited and although it would have been great to play in another World Cup in Australia, it was just beyond me. It's time to move on to new things and gives Phil the chance to find somebody to replace me. After talking with my wife Vanessa and my agent Niall Woods we made the decision to hang them up.
"I then had a conversation with Phil, William Porterfield, Kieran O'Reilly and Brendan Connor before the Pakistan series where I let them know of my plans. It's amazing that everyone has managed to keep the lid on this for so long - there aren't too many secrets in Irish cricket!"
Johnston's statistics in an Irish jersey are nothing short of remarkable. He is third on the all-time list of leading wicket takers with 264 at 23.13 - only Jimmy Boucher and Dermott Monteith are ahead of him. He's only one of three Irish players to have taken a hat-trick, and in addition has 2398 runs at 21.04, with ten half centuries, although he did pass three figures in an uncapped game versus Scotland in 2005.
He has captained Ireland 60 times, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 finals campaign, when the squad first made such an impact in front of the cricketing world.
Johnston has a special affinity with the ICC Intercontinental Cup, lifting the trophy twice with Ireland against Kenya in 2005 and Canada in 2007. He is also the leading wicket taker in the competition, having taken 88 wickets at just 16.19 and is in with an outside chance of achieving the magical 100 landmark with two matches left.
"The ICup has always been a huge tournament for me and I think it's fitting that my career will culminate in an appearance in that. It's one of my highlights lifting that trophy back in 2005 when we beat Kenya and it'd be pretty special to bow out with a fourth medal in December.
"I'd set myself personal goals at the start of the year and I've been slowly ticking those boxes as we go along. I always knew we were going to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with the squad we have, and the standard we've been playing at for a few years now. I've achieved a lot in my career and I'm pretty happy with how it's all went. I'm really looking forward to the ODI against England at Malahide in September, which should be a pretty amazing occasion."
Johnston is keen now for the next phase of his career to begin, and is looking to remain in the sport in a coaching capacity.
"It's an avenue I'm hoping to remain in and obviously I'd like that to be somewhere in Ireland. Irish cricket has given me so much over the past decade so I'd like to be able to put something back into the sport. However at the minute there are no coaching opportunities within Cricket Ireland so it may have to be overseas. Hopefully there will be offers and it's my main priority now to get something nailed down for after December."
Looking back on his career Johnston had many happy memories, including leading his adopted country at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. "I was incredibly proud to wear the shamrock and to lead your country 60 times including a World Cup was just massive for me. It was a genuine honour and one which I'll never forget. That first World Cup put Irish cricket on the map and it's kick-started the cricketing expansion that we're witnessing now. It was a privilege to be part of that.
"The 2010 Pepsi ICC World Cricket League win in The Netherlands was pretty special. We did a clean sweep of the matches without the county players and I knew then that Irish cricket was in a good place and the future secure. The team was either composed of players who had played 100 times or less than five and to beat everyone was a special effort and I was proud to captain that team.
"I'll miss the team spirit and the camaraderie within the squad. We have a special bond and togetherness that to me makes Irish cricket stand out. Of course we have exceptional players as well, but it's the fact that we're such a tight unit that gets us through difficult times, as we saw last Tuesday in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in The Netherlands."
Current Ireland captain William Porterfield paid tribute to Johnston saying: "It's pretty hard to sum up the impact that TJ has had on Irish cricket and what he has achieved. He has brought so much to the squad both on and off the field, leading by example not only with the new ball, but in showing what it means to pull on the Irish jersey by his work ethic off the pitch.
"The passion and enthusiasm he brings to the team rubs off on everyone around him. I would personally like to thank him for everything that he has done for me since making my debut under him in 2006 to the present day.
"I look forward to enjoying the rest of the season with him and sending him out on a high in the ICC Intercontinental Cup final in December.
"I would also like to wish him all the very best for whatever he moves onto in the future, which I am sure he will also be as successful in as he was as a player."
Ireland coach Phil Simmons was also quick to recognise the impact that Johnston had since making his debut back in 2004.
"Trent has been one of the pillars of this team. He's been incredibly consistent and gotten vital wickets at crucial times spearheading the bowling unit.
"His experience has been invaluable, his dedication and work ethic has been exceptional and second to none. He has the total respect of all players who have played with him over nearly ten years in Irish cricket. I would like to thank him for all he has done for Irish Cricket and wish him well in his future career."
Irish fans will get their chance to say farewell to the cricketing colossus when Ireland face England in the Challenge at Malahide on September 3, before games against traditional rivals Scotland in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship and ICC Intercontinental Cup.
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