Di Venuto will miss 2004 season
Michael Di Venuto, 30, the prolific Tasmania left-hander, will miss the entire season after undergoing back surgery on an injury he suffered while playing for his native Tasmania. He had been due to captain Derbyshire this summer, but the armband will now pass to Luke Sutton, the wicketkeeper.
"We don't think Mike will take on any part for us this season but he remains a big part of our future," Dave Houghton, Derbyshire's coach, said. "We have known about his problem for a while now and have got a contingency plan in place. That has not been fully finalised as yet because we wanted to give Mike that final one per cent chance that he might get away with not having an operation."
Their other original overseas signing, Di Venuto's Tasmania team-mate Damien Wright, had already pulled out, as he has been forced to undergo knee surgery. Houghton has looked to Australia for a replacement - Jonathon Moss, 28, part of Victoria's Pura Cup-winning side, averages 46 with the bat and 27 with the ball in first-class cricket.