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Friday 19 September 2014

End of an era as legend Johnston heads back Down Under

David Townsend

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

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Former captain Trent Johnston (centre) played a major role in transforming the Irish side from the backwaters of Associate cricket to proud performers on the world stage. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
Former captain Trent Johnston (centre) played a major role in transforming the Irish side from the backwaters of Associate cricket to proud performers on the world stage. Photo: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Trent Johnston is pulling stumps on his Irish adventure after a glorious decade and returning 'home' to take up a coaching role with New South Wales at the end of the season.

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The 40-year-old former captain helped transform the Irish side from the backwaters of Associate cricket to proud performers on the world stage and was showing early signs of a successful coaching career with Leinster Lightning and the Ireland women.

The offer of a two-year contract to become assistant coach at NSW and pathway coach for the state he grew up in was too tempting, though.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family and one that I simply can't pass up," said Johnston. "I didn't go looking for the switch, but now that's it's happened, I'm relishing the challenge and looking forward to what I suppose is a homecoming for me.

"I will really miss Cricket Ireland and its people, sponsors, and fantastic supporters. Everyone has been amazing to me and my family over the past 10 years and I'll never forget that."

There will inevitably be speculation that, after a suitable period away to distance himself, Johnston will one day return as head coach of an Ireland team he represented 198 times.

DUTIES

He completes his duties with Leinster Lightning on September 10, but it may not be long before Johnston is meeting up with many of his former charges again, with Ireland due to play two matches against the NSW Second XI on tour in October.

Meanwhile, England are bang on course to end their long winless run with a first success in 11 Tests, as India stumbled in pursuit of a world-record run chase at the Ageas Bowl.

Alastair Cook's team need just another six wickets on the final day.

Cook (70no) confirmed his return to form with his second half-century of the match and James Anderson marked his 32nd birthday with a five-wicket haul in India's first-innings 330 all out.

The tourists then reached 112-4 in notional pursuit of 445 second time round, after England's whirlwind 205-4 declared.

Elsewhere, South Africa legend Jacques Kallis (38) has retired from all international cricket, admitted that a swansong at the World Cup next year was "a bridge too far."

The all-rounder retired from Tests and Twenty20s late last year, but remained available for one-day internationals.

ENGLAND V INDIA, DAY 5, LIVE, SKY SPORTS 2, 11.00am

Irish Independent

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