Tuesday 16 January 2018

Johnston eyes fitting farewell with another Cup triumph

Cricket David Townsend

TRENT JOHNSTON will retire from international cricket after the InterContinental Cup final in December, bringing down the curtain on a glorious career that has been a massive factor in Ireland's emergence on the world stage.

The Australian-born fast bowler captained his adopted country 60 times – most memorably at the 2007 World Cup – lies third on the all-time list of wicket takers, is one of only three Ireland bowlers to take a hat-trick, has appeared in five world finals and collected three IC Cup winner's medals.

His presence in the dressing-room has also been immense, as captain William Porterfield acknowledged yesterday, but now in his 40th year he feels the 2015 World Cup is just too far away for his creaking body.

For Johnston it isn't so much a case of hanging up his boots as no longer being able to put on his socks.

"It's becoming harder to recover after matches now, so much so that I can hardly walk for a couple of days," Johnston said. "It took me a full week to recover from the UAE tour in March and my kids Charlie and Claudia were having to pull my socks on and off for me.

"I'd set myself personal goals at the start of the year and I've been slowly ticking those boxes. I always knew we were going to qualify for the 2015 World Cup, and it was no surprise to do so with two games to spare with the squad we have.

"It would have been great to play in another World Cup – especially in Australia – but it was just beyond me. It's time to move on and hopefully find a coaching role next year."

Johnston has a special affinity with the IC Cup, lifting the trophy twice against Kenya in 2005 and Canada in 2007 and winning it again against Namibia in 2008 under Porterfield. He is also overall leading wicket taker in the competition with 88 victims.

"The IC Cup has always been a huge tournament for me and perhaps it's fitting that my career will end with that," he said. "Lifting that trophy back in 2005 is one of my highlights and it'd be pretty special to bow out with a fourth medal.

"Before that I'm really looking forward to the RSA Challenge ODI against England in September, which should be an amazing occasion at Malahide."

Porterfield readily admits he is going to miss a huge character who has amassed 264 wickets and 2,398 runs from his 186 international appearances going back to 2004.

"It's pretty hard to sum up the impact that TJ has had on Irish cricket and what he has achieved," he said. "He has brought so much to the squad – showing what it means to pull on the Irish jersey and by his work ethic off the pitch.

"His passion and enthusiasm rubs off on everyone around him and I would personally like to thank him for everything he has done for me since my debut under him in 2006."

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