County pro Di Venuto to mentor batsmen
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