Michael James Di Venuto
December 12, 1973, Hobart, Tasmania
Left hand bat
Right arm medium, Legbreak googly
St Virgil's College, Hobart
Michael di Venuto shot into the Australian one-day team as an opener with his brutal stroke-play that was a precursor to Adam Gilchrist's dominance, but he couldn't sustain the devastation and was dropped in the same year he made his debut.
Following his international days in 1997, which included two half-centuries, he continued to be a prolific and record-breaking player for Tasmania. Di Venuto saved his best two state seasons for his final campaigns. In 2006-07 he compiled his best collection in an Australian domestic season and his 961 Pura Cup runs at 53.38 put him third in the competition that summer. He was just as good in 2007-08, when his 947 runs at 52.61 came in a struggling team, and he left a big hole in the Tasmania's batting department when he announced he was retiring to focus on his new three-year county deal with Durham.
Di Venuto made his state debut as a teenager in 1991-92 and played many outstanding top-order innings, but none was more impressive than his glorious 189 in the 1997-98 Sheffield Shield final. When he departed the Australian domestic scene he was Tasmania's leading one-day run-scorer, was second to Jamie Cox on the state's lists of Pura Cup-Sheffield Shield appearances and runs scored, and owned the most half-centuries in Pura Cup-Sheffield Shield history.
A fearsome player of the hook, pull and square cut, he is a dashing left-hander who has excited English fans during regular stints with Derbyshire and Durham. He played a leading role in Durham's County Championship triumph in 2009, feasting on bowlers across the country to score 1,601 runs at 80.05 - his six hundreds including a massive 254 not out against Sussex and 219 against Nottinghamshire. His returns in 2010 were a touch more modest, but he began the 2011 season in style with 86 and 112 in a match against Somerset.
In 2012, he chose to play for Italy, the country of his origin, in the World Twenty20 Qualifiers, and in July of that year, having decided he could no longer sustain the level of form required for first-class cricket, di Venuto announced his retirement from county cricket with immediate effect after six years with Durham, during which he scored 6,488 first-class runs. In February 2013, he was appointed batting coach to the Australian national team.
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