Trent Johnston has accepted a coaching job with Cricket New South Wales and will begin a two-year contract with the Australian side in September.
The 40-year-old former Ireland captain will have a dual role for the state he grew up in, assisting NSW senior coach Trevor Bayliss and also serving as a Pathway Coach.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family and one that I simply can’t pass up,” said Johnston, who has been the heartbeat of Irish cricket during the past decade.
“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, having started my cricket career at NSW what seems like a lifetime ago.
“I’m going to an organisation that is steeped in tradition and history and is of course my birth state. I will 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.”
Johnston will relinquish his coaching roles with Cricket Ireland and Leinster Lightning on September 10, and it’s clear that he will be leaving with a heavy heart.
“I’ve loved every minute coaching the women’s team, and we’ve grown and developed together since the start of the year. The squad are making huge strides both as individuals and as a team, and I’ll really miss them all.
Johnston called an end to his international career last December after claiming 273 wickets and scoring 2610 runs in 198 appearances for Ireland. His final game was the InterContinental Cup final in Dubai, where he collected a fourth winners’ medal.
Cricket Ireland kept Johnston on board with the dual role of head women’s coach as well as continuing to coach Leinster Lightning. He had guided Lightning to two trophies in the inaugural Inter-Provincial Series in 2013, and is well placed to claim further glory this season.
“The role with Leinster Lightning was my first real foray into coaching which was a huge challenge in a competitive tournament, especially as we were expected to dominate,” Johnston said.
“To keep that group of exceptional players striving to improve was a challenge I relished and embraced. I was fortunate to have John Mooney as captain this year, who is without doubt a born leader and someone you would want by your side in the trenches.”
Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth paid tribute to Johnston.
“We are naturally very sorry to lose Trent so early in his contract with Cricket Ireland, but understand what a great opportunity this new position provides for him,” he said.
“He has made a lot of progress with our women’s team in the last seven months and been very committed to Leinster Lightning who have the potential for further success in the Newstalk Inter-Pro series this summer.
“Trent has worked tirelessly to make the women’s programme more professional and I hope they and he have some deserved success in their remaining matches this summer.
“We wish Trent all the very best in his new coaching role and great challenges with Cricket New South Wales and very much hope that he remains in touch with cricket in Ireland where he has contributed so much over the last decade.”
Cricket Ireland will commence the recruitment of these positions with immediate effect.