Trent Johnston looking to bow out at the top
Trent Johnston knows his days in the green and blue of Ireland are numbered. In 106 days time it will all be over, the day of the ICC World Twenty20 final in Colombo – and he plans to be there in a playing capacity.
In 88 days time he will play in the same city against the land of his birth for what could be the final time. His cricketing journey has a long way to run, but it has already had quite a few turns since he first stepped out on Reid Park, Dapto on the southside of Wollongong in New South Wales.
He played two years as a teenager NSW Country before he was spotted by the state selectors.
“When I made my Shield debut it was the last first-class game for ‘Tubs’ Taylor and another Australian legend, David Boon.
“I opened the bowling with Brett Lee and after the first day I had 2-73 and was feeling good. My first wicket was Michael Di Venuto who I played against in Abu Dhabi in the recent T20 qualifier.
“Unfortunately I was involved in a stupid accident after the second day’s play. Brad McNamara was driving the team bus and thought I was on-board when I was just climbing on. He drove off and broke my arm!”
“Mark Taylor went berserk and screamed for Brad’s blood, but although I batted next day I had to sit out the rest of game.”
The following season didn’t prove too successful for Johnston, but he wasn’t prepared for the let-down that was to come.
“I turned up at training one day to be asked ‘what are you doing here, you’re not in the final 18?’ by a teammate. My contract hadn’t been renewed but no-one had told me from either NSW Cricket or coach Steve Rixon.
“I thought my world had collapsed.”
His first class career was apparently over at 25, despite claiming the scalps of Mike Hussey and Simon Katich in his last game.
He picked up his club career, playing with Campbelltown, North Sydney and Mosman, who he captained to their first championship ever.
Married now to Dubliner Vanessa, he was able to join Adi Birrell’s team which had designs on qualifying for the 2007 World Cup.
Trent’s first game for Ireland was just a week after his 30th birthday and he played his part in a rare win over a county in the C&G Trophy. The beaten Surrey side had eight internationals, but even more satisfyingly was that they were coached by Steve Rixon.
TJ has played twice against Australia, but is yet to see an Irish win.
“We played them in Barbados in 2007, and I got to hit 10 off an over from Glenn McGrath! I then faced four balls from Shaun Tait that didn’t even register in my line of vision – the fourth went off my bat onto the stumps and bowled me,” he recalls.
He did pick up Ireland’s only wicket as the Aussies raced to a nine wicket win. “I bowled Adam Gilchrist with a good ball from around the wicket, and it was especially nice to do it from the Malcolm Marshall End as he was my boyhood hero.”
Three years later Australia came to Clontarf, and Trent had a quiet game, becoming one of James Hopes’ career best 5-14, and bowling five wicketless overs.
“Playing against Australia now is like playing against any other country – I give 120% for Ireland. But its nice to pit yourself against the best.
“Growing up all I wanted was to wear the baggy green, now all I want is to win one over the Aussies. Today would be nice, Colombo would be better.”