Surrey have announced Michael Di Venuto as their new head coach on a three-year deal to replace Graham Ford who has recently returned to work with Sri Lanka.

Di Venuto, who played nine ODIs, is currently Australia's assistant and batting coach and recently took charge of the team when Darren Lehmann suffered DVT. His final Australia assignment will be the T20 tour of South Africa next month and he will join Surrey in early April ahead of the start of their Championship campaign against Nottinghamshire on April 10.

Greg Blewett, who is currently Australia's fielding coach, will take on the batting responsibilities with the national side.

Di Venuto has extensive experience of the county game having played for Sussex, Derbyshire and latterly Durham with whom he won back-to-back County Championship titles in 2008 and 2009.

"It has been a huge honour and privilege to have worked with the Australian team but the chance to come to a club of the size and potential of Surrey as head coach was too big an opportunity for me to turn down," Di Venuto said.

"As someone who has always enjoyed the county game, I have followed Surrey's progress over the last couple of years and look forward to working with this talented squad of players."

Alec Stewart, the Surrey director of cricket, said: "Following the departure of Graham Ford it was vitally important that we found another high quality coach with a great work ethic and excellent knowledge of the English county game.

"Michael is a good people person and his twelve years of county experience will be invaluable. He is highly regarded within the Australian setup for his ability to work with and get the best out of players both individually and collectively.

"Being able to appoint a coach from a top quality International team can only serve to benefit the club and I would like to thank Cricket Australia for their professional dealings and understanding in enabling us to make this appointment in time for the start of the new season."

Pat Howard, Australia's general manager, thanked Di Venuto for his work alongside Darren Lehmann over the last three years.

"Michael has played a very important role supporting the Australian team over the last three years, including this past home summer when he stood in for Darren Lehmann as head coach," Howard said.

"He has brought a tremendous work ethic and commitment to the role and we have no doubt that this head coaching opportunity with Surrey will provide him with fantastic experience leading his own team, continuing his rapid development as an elite coach."