Hong Kong cricket coach Trent Johnston resigns, hails ‘best three years of my coaching career’
- Australian coach of the city’s men’s cricket team leaves his role after revelations were made public about his private life
- Cricket Hong Kong confirms a parting of the ways with Johnston and ‘thanks Trent for his commitment’
Trent Johnston has resigned as Hong Kong cricket coach with immediate effect.
Cricket Hong Kong and the former Ireland international decided to part ways after revelations about Johnston’s private life were made public.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the board thanked the 48-year-old Australian for his service and wished him “the very best in his future endeavours”.
“I have had the best three years of my coaching career with this squad of players and organisation,” Johnston said. “I know I leave this group in much better shape than I found them. They are certainly on the upward trend.
“I would like to thank Cricket Hong Kong for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach and would like to thank the members of the board and the Cricket Hong Kong management, admin and coaching team for all the support given to me over the last three years.”
Johnston joined Hong Kong in the summer of 2019, and then spent the better part of his time in charge of the city’s men’s team unable to do anything as the coronavirus laid waste to the world’s sporting fixtures over the next two years.
The team were finally able to play some cricket this summer, and embarked on a three-month tour that included stops in Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Jersey, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, as they attempted to qualify for the T20 World Cup and win the Challenge League B.
Hong Kong did at least end the season on a high by qualifying for the Asia Cup, but their failure to achieve either of their main objectives for the tour was considered a disappointment.
“During his tenure as head coach, the Hong Kong men’s team rose in the global rankings to No 20 and qualified for the recently concluded Asia Cup in Dubai,” the governing body said in a statement. “Cricket Hong Kong thanks Trent for his commitment and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours.”
Johnston’s position as coach is understood to have become untenable after an Australian tabloid published lurid details of an extramarital affair he was accused of having while he was away with the Hong Kong team this summer.
At the time the story broke, cricket bosses in the city said that they were “disappointed” by the revelations, and would discuss the coach’s position on his return from Australia, where he had gone after the side’s successful Asia Cup campaign.
The decision to quit has spared Cricket Hong Kong from having to decide whether to dispense with their coach, although it is possible that missing out on the T20 World Cup, or the chance to regain the team’s ODI status, could have prompted a change in any case.
A fast bowler in his playing days, Johnston began his career with his native New South Wales in the late 1990s before going on to represent and captain Ireland.
In 2007, he led his adopted country to one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, hitting the decisive runs as they beat Pakistan.
After retiring as a player in 2013, Johnston had been an assistant coach with New South Wales and with Sydney Sixers – a franchise in Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League – before taking his role with the Hong Kong team three years ago.