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Surrey announce Michael Di Venuto as head coach

Michael Di Venuto (left) will leave the Australian team after their upcoming series against South Africa.
Michael Di Venuto (left) will leave the Australian team after their upcoming series against South Africa.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The Surrey County Cricket Club has confirmed the appointment of former Australian opening batsman Michael Di Venuto as the head coach to replace Graham Ford.

Di Venuto, who is currently Australia's assistant and batting coach will complete his assignment in the tour of South Africa and will take over at Surrey in early April with a three-year contract.

Surrey has had to search for a replacement for Ford, who was announced as the head coach of the Sri Lankan national team in January. 

Di Venuto has played nine One-Day Internationals for Australia in 1997 and has the wealth of playing 336 first-class games and 302 List A matches in his career spanning nearly 21 years.

The 42-year-old has also played county cricket for Sussex and Derbyshire before going on to win two consecutive County Championship titles with Durham in 2008 and 2009.

Stating that it was a huge opportunity to coach Surrey, Di Venuto expressed his gratitude for having been able to work with the Australian team.

“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,” said Di Venuto.

“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.”

Director of Cricket at Surrey, Alec Stewart feels that Di Venuto’s rich experience of playing county cricket will be invaluable to the team and thanked Cricket Australia (CA) for facilitating the appointment.

“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.”

When Australia’s head coach Darren Lehmann was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis in January, Di Venuto was in charge of the squad for the ODI series in New Zealand.

CA’s executive general manager of team performance Pat Howard thanked Di Venuto for his services to Australian cricket in 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.

“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.”

Current Australian fielding coach Greg Blewett will be taking over as the batting coach of the national side after the departure of Di Venuto. 

© Cricket World 2016