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County pro Di Venuto to mentor batsmen

Daniel Brettig

February 1, 2013

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Michael Di Venuto slashes a cut on his way to an unbeaten 84 in Durham's second innings, Durham v Somerset, County Championship, Division One, Chester-le-Street, September 15, 2010
Michael Di Venuto was playing county cricket in England as recently as 2012 © Getty Images
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A county career that ended only last year will provide Michael Di Venuto with a wealth of relevant experience to pass on to Australia's batsmen about England after he was named the national team's fulltime batting coach.

Di Venuto, 39, will start his role on this month's tour of India, but his value to Ashes preparations figured prominently in his election, after more than a decade of first-class matches for Sussex, Derbyshire and Durham, with whom he retired as senior pro in July 2012.

The appointment follows a period in which Australia tried several batting mentors in the wake of Justin Langer's decision to become head coach of Western Australia, including the former Test batsmen Stuart Law and Dean Jones. It is also a further endorsement of Tasmania as a source of coaching and playing talent, as Di Venuto joins the man he replaced as the Tigers' assistant coach, Ali De Winter.

"We are delighted to have Michael on board," Australia's coach Mickey Arthur said. "We wanted a batting coach who was working within Australian cricket and who had also represented Australia as a player and Michael certainly brings those two aspects to the table, as well as a wealth of experience in first-class cricket.

"We felt it was important that the appointed person had demonstrated coaching experience. This aligns with our coaching pathway plans which is an Argus review recommendation. Michael spent some time around the Test squad while we were in Hobart ... we were impressed with the way he went about his work and we look forward to him joining us on a full-time basis."

Despite a prolific record as an aggressive first-class and limited overs batsman, Di Venuto's international career was limited to nine ODIs in the late 1990s, and was ended by Adam Gilchrist's rise to prominence as an opener in one-day matches.

More recently he represented Italy, the nation of his ancestry, in World Twenty20 qualifiers.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by myboyharry on (February 1, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

Absolutely delighted for Michael. As a Durham fan I was privileged too see this world class batsman in action. As a member I was also privileged to get to know him. A lovely fella. I hope he is a huge success in his new role and look forward too seeing him in the North East this summer.

Posted by sifter132 on (February 1, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

I'm the opposite to you @ozcricketwriter - I think it's the failed players who often make the best coaches. They tend to know how hard it is to get into/ stay in the team, and their coaching reflects that. Either the 'failed' players are those who had the talent, but not the workethic, or the opposite, good workethic but not the talent. Picking Ricky Ponting as your batting coach looks better on paper, but Ricky had talent that no one else had. Very hard to transfer that talent to the players you coach. You need someone who can sympathise with a player who hasn't got his game quite right. Ponting (or other batting greats) rarely ever experienced that.

That's why I also like Ali de Winter's promotion over Waqar Younis. NO ONE has Waqar's talent in Australia, so he'd be wasting half his knowledge.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 1, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

While Di Venuto would make a good coach at state level or in county cricket, the fact that he himself never really made it at international level makes him a poor role model as a coach, and, considering just how many awesome batsmen we have had recently, I wonder why we couldn't have had one of them instead.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 1, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

Agreed, you dont have to be an international to coach! but what tips can he give to Usman and Philip when he has never played on slow low Indian pitches. If the sole purpose is to assist Aussies during Ashes 2013 (which is true) in England then fine..he wil just accompany Aussies ot India to get used to the dressing room.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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