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March 22, 2008
Trent Johnston, Ireland's captain, has decided to take an indefinite break from international cricket. Johnston, who turns 34 next month, will play no part in Ireland's Friend Provident Trophy games, but hasn't ruled out featuring later in the year in the Intercontinental Cup.
"I've told the squad that it's time for me to have a break. I've been struggling with various injuries [shoulder, elbow and ankle], and my body's telling me it's time for rest," he said after Ireland were swept 3-0 by Bangladesh. "I've been a bit of a passenger in the field, and it's not fair on the rest of the team."
In the aftermath of Ireland's 2007 World Cup farewell, Johnston had dropped a broad hint that he would soon be announcing his retirement and he admitted the strains of one-day cricket had taken its toll. "It's been no secret that I've been contemplating this for some time. International cricket places a great strain not only on the body, but also on family life, and with a wife and two young children, I've got to prioritise," he said. "There are also the demands on my time with work. I've now got a terrific job with Architectural Hardware, who have been fantastic with their support."
Johnston said he would have a chat with Phil Simmons, Ireland's coach, about his future. "These three ODIs in the space of five days has nearly killed me. It's only fair to give Phil a chance to build up a working relationship with William Porterfield now, rather than drop this on him in six months time."
The highlight of Johnston's international career was undoubtedly leading Ireland in a thrilling tie against Zimbabwe in the first match of the World Cup and beating Pakistan - Johnston hit the winning runs - to record one of the biggest upsets in history. "It's been a terrific time to have been involved with Irish cricket, and I'll always cherish the memories of the World Cup," Johnston said. "I do feel I've still got a lot to offer, particularly in the four-day format. I suppose I could still field in the slips, and I've been in good form with the bat, so could maybe concentrate on that aspect of my game more."
Johnston will continue to play domestic cricket in Leinster, where he is captain of Railway Union. "I'm still going to be turning out for Railway, where the demands won't be as strenuous."
Johnston captained Ireland to two successive Intercontinental Cup final wins, against Kenya in 2005, and in 2007 versus Canada. His first-class career stands at 51 wickets at 12.94 and 368 runs at 36.80 in 11 matches. In all, Johnston played 67 matches for Ireland in all competitions, scoring 1332 runs at 21.48, and taking 100 wickets at 24.43.He is one of only two players to have taken a hat-trick for Ireland, doing so against Gloucestershire at Clontarf in May 2007.
A Cricket Ireland spokesman said, "Trent has been an inspirational captain of the Irish team for three years. We fully understand the reasons behind his decision to take a break. We feel he still has a lot to offer on the playing side."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala