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Di Venuto takes over at Surrey

Michael Di Venuto has left his position in the Australia set-up in favour of becoming Surrey's new head coach.

The 42-year-old, Australia's batting coach, has signed an initial three-year deal to succeed Graham Ford at the Kia Oval.

Di Venuto will start his new role at the beginning of April ahead of the new season, which begins against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in County Championship Division One 10 days later.

Di Venuto said: “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.

“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.”

Michael Di Venuto, right, has had a major impact on Steven Smith, left, since taking over as Australia batting coach in 2013

A former Durham, Derbyshire and Sussex player during 12 years in county cricket, opening batsman Di Venuto also played nine one-day internationals for Australia.

He represented Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield, winning the competition in 2007/08, while also claiming back-to-back County Championship titles and a Friends Provident Trophy with Durham.

Di Venuto enjoyed coaching spells at Tasmania and Big Bash League franchise Hobart Hurricanes before linking up with Australia in 2013.

Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart, who saw Ford depart for Sri Lanka, added: “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 12 years of county experience will be invaluable. He is highly regarded within the Australian set-up 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.

“On behalf of the members, players and staff, I would like to welcome Michael and his family to Surrey CCC.”

During his three years in the national set-up, Di Venuto has had a huge impact in the development of David Warner and skipper Steven Smith, the number-one ranked Test batsman in the world.

Di Venuto was part of the backroom staff when Australia won the 2013/14 Ashes and last year's ICC World Cup triumph on home soil.

He also took charge of Australia's three-match one-day international series in New Zealand earlier this year, which the Black Caps won 2-1, after head coach Darren Lehmann was hospitalised with deep vein thrombosis.  

Cricket Australia executive general manager of team performance Pat Howard said: “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.

“We thank him for his great service and hope that at some point in the future we can welcome him back to Australian cricket.”

Di Venuto will be reunited with former Australia Twenty20 skipper Aaron Finch at Surrey after the big-hitting opening batsman signed a deal to join the club this summer. 

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