Anyone 4 cricket? Trent Johnson talks

I grew up in Australia. I started playing cricket when I was about seven years old. Cricket was pretty instrumental in my upbringing. My father, uncle and cousins all played cricket so it was a sort of natural progression for me to get involved. It was rugby league in the winter and then cricket in the summer. I did that until I was 19 when I got a scholarship to go and play cricket over in England in 1993 and got the bug to play cricket and travel around after that.

My first involvement in Irish cricket was in 1995 and went back in 96 and 98. I married an Irish girl called Vanessa in 98 and went back to Sydney. We came back in 01 for a while but then sold everything up in Sydney and moved over to Ireland permanently in 04 after a phone call from then Irish coach Adrian Bill talking about world cups that sort of stuff. It’s funny how things happen.

I’ve had my fair share of world cup experience with Ireland. I’ve competed in four world cups now and staring down a barrel of a fifth in September next year when the 20/20 world cup is held in Sri Lanka. Hopefully that will be the case and I’m very much looking forward to that.

I don’t find travelling too bad. It’s probably a little bit easier now that my kids are older and they understand more. Eight weeks really means eight weeks and it was a bit more difficult a few years ago when they were a bit younger. They understand now that I’m gone and they try and help out around the house while I’m away which takes a lot of pressure off my wife.

The travelling is quite nice. However, a lot of people think that we travel around and have a holiday and all that stuff but it’s anything but that. It’s work five or six hours a day whether you’re training, whether you’re preparing for a game or doing press work and that sort of thing so it’s pretty intense while you’re away. There’s obviously a bit of downtime when we can enjoy ourselves and that does happen. When that downtime comes I think we deserve it because of the time and effort that is put in.

My favourite form of transport would have to be airplanes, business class. We have done that during a few world cups and it’s obviously a nice change. Unfortunately Cricket Ireland is not really at that stage when we can get business class when we’re travelling. On another note one of the best things I’ve ever done was sail back from Kinsale to Dun Laoghre harbour. We did that over two days back in 2004 and it was a tremendous couple of days and that’s certainly a great way to travel. The favourite is still the plane because you’re up and down very quickly.

One of my most memorable experiences was in 2007 when we travelled business class for the world cup in the West Indies. I remember sitting next to my good friend Peter Gillespie who is now a selector for the Irish team. We were both just sitting back relaxing and enjoying the fruits of our success I suppose. Going over to the world cup I remember it being quite funny as there were five English journalists that were sitting in the front row of economy. Before take-off they pulled across the screen separating us and we couldn’t see them. That was quite hilarious especially with all the jip that they were giving us in saying that we shouldn’t have been there. For us to be in business class and them to be back in the cattle class as I think it’s called was great. It was nice to have a couple of glasses of champagne in their faces.

I suppose I’ve had a few travelling nightmares too. One of them was travelling on a plane with my two kids coming back to Ireland from Australia in 2004. Charlie would have only been about 14 months and Claudia would have been about four. The plane from London to Dublin got cancelled. Imagine, after travelling for nearly 24 hours with two screaming kids, we were told we had to stay in a hotel with the same clothes and all this sort of stuff. I’ve seen Vanessa go off her head a few times but nothing like that. That was definitely a nightmare but it turned out ok.

I’ve stayed in some fairly different accommodation during my travels. For good memories, I would say the best place I have ever stayed in would be the ITC Gardenia in Bangalore. I’ve had a chance to stay there a couple and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s just a class hotel; lovely people, good food, a variation of restaurants and fabulous rooms. I was lucky to get a balcony room the time we stayed. I guess I pulled in a bit of my rank in the team. That was pretty awesome.

I remember there was a hotel in Namibia. I know, you think of Namibia and you don’t think of too many posh hotels but there was this great one. I can’t remember the name of this particular hotel but for food wise it was definitely the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. There was an unbelievable feast of fresh prawns, chicken stir-fry’s, and different meats. They had freshly caught game and they would cook it in front of you, it was great. When you’re training hard I like to treat myself to a few desserts. They had these great big profiteroles, they were always number one, and they had cakes and all this sort of stuff. They had nice rooms and a big casino in the hotel. It had a lot of things going for it. It’s certainly nice to let off a bit of steam after training.

If I was to give advice for people who were going travelling, I would say make sure you do a bit of research. Research you’re destination and know what you’re getting yourself into. Know that every place has there bad parts and unsecure areas and just know what to expect. Be informed and do a bit of research. Know if you can drink certain water and things like that because you certainly don’t want to be spending three or four days with Delhi Belly or anything like that. If you do your research well enough then you will certainly have a good travelling experience wherever you go.