West Indies v Australia T20Is - Men's
Aussie men lock in two new assistant coaches
Michael Di Venuto returns to previous post while current Tasmania batting guru Jeff Vaughan also joins the national set-up under Justin Langer
1 July 2021, 02:57 PM AEST
The Tasmania influence in Australia's men's cricket team has strengthened with the appointment of Tigers off-field duo Jeff Vaughan and Michael Di Venuto as assistant coaches to incumbent supremo Justin Langer.
The pair represent a double-barrelled replacement for the team's previous batting coach Graeme Hick, who was appointed in 2016 but became a casualty of Cricket Australia's redundancy program last year amid cost savings to stem the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the absence of the former England Test batter's input, Langer effectively took on the additional role of batting mentor last summer as the Test outfit tumbled to a 2-1 series defeat to India in which only two batters (Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne) posted centuries.
Vaughan has won widespread kudos since relocating from Adelaide – where he had progressed from top-order batter to specialist coach - to Tasmania in 2017 where he was appointed head coach prior to last summer.
He has worked closely with current Test skipper Tim Paine, and keeper Matthew Wade credited the former South Australia opener for his recall to the Australia Test team for the 2019 Ashes when he described Vaughan as "one of the best (coaches) I've worked with".
Vaughan formally resigned today as head coach with the Tigers, where he started as assistant before taking over from Adam Griffith, initially while his predecessor was on secondment with the national men's team for the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Having been appointed coach of Tasmania's Marsh Sheffield Shield team in 2019-20, he was installed as coach of the Tigers' Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup outfits the following summer.
"Naturally, it's been a difficult decision," Vaughan said of severing his ties with Tasmania. "We have established a strong culture here at the Tigers and feel the team is really where it needs to be for ongoing and sustained success at a domestic level.
"However, just like for the majority of cricketers, as coaches we aim to reach the highest level in our roles, and this was an opportunity that was just too good not to put my hand up for.
"The entire playing group here (Tasmania) has been fantastic to work with and I'm thrilled I'll still get to work with some of the guys in the national set-up.
"Plus, we have a great bunch of coaching staff and other personnel at Cricket Tas who I have not only learned a lot from, but who have also made my job here so enjoyable."
Di Venuto – who is currently in the Caribbean as an assistant to Langer for the upcoming white-ball campaigns against West Indies and then Bangladesh – is similarly highly regarded by many in the national set-up having previously served as assistant to Langer's predecessor, Darren Lehmann.
He was singled out by Steve Smith as the pre-eminent influence in his rise to the top of the world Test batting rankings after the pair worked closely together during the epochal 2013-14 Ashes series in Australia.
The former Australia ODI representative, who was also a prolific first-class runs-scorer in Australian domestic and English county cricket, took over as coach of Surrey in 2016 and two years later guided the London-based team to their first championship title in 16 summers.
However, when the global pandemic dramatically shortened the 2020 UK season and international travel became problematic, Di Venuto was released from his Surrey tenure (which was due to expire this year) and he worked as contract batting coach for Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes last summer.
In addition to Di Venuto, the Australia men's team has former Test allrounder Andrew McDonald as assistant coach for the Qantas Tour of the West Indies, with Victoria's Andre Borovec also providing help as Langer's squad prepares for the ICC T20 World Cup that begins in the UAE in October.
Ben Oliver, CA's Executive General Manager of High Performance and National Teams, said Di Venuto's chief responsibilities would lie with the batting group, with Vaughan's coaching emphasis on fielding.
"Michael is highly respected within Australian cricket for both his playing career in Australia and the UK and his subsequent successes as a coach. He will work closely with the batting group across all formats under the leadership of Justin," Oliver said.
"Jeff brings unique experience and expertise to the role, having worked across several state programs, and will have a focus on the fielding portfolio within the Australian men's team.
"Both are great additions to the coaching staff and will complement Justin and Andrew in providing quality support for the playing group."
Vaughan will step down from his role as Tasmania head coach in August, and Cricket Tasmania Chief Executive Officer Dominic Baker indicated the organisation will shortly begin a "robust recruitment" process to fill the two vacancies.
"It's no secret that Jeff is not only very good at what he does, but one of the nicest guys in cricket, and his departure is a huge loss for us here at Cricket Tasmania," Baker said today of Vaughan's impending departure.
"However, we are, of course, incredibly proud that Jeff has been called up for national honours.
"We know how highly regarded he is by our playing group and have no doubt that that sentiment will be emulated in the Australian set-up too.
"Just like when we have a player selected for the Australian set-up, it's recognition of how good they are at what they do, so not only are we thrilled for Jeff and Michael personally, but we are proud to have provided a suitable environment for them – and others – to thrive in their respective roles."
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr
T20 series (all matches at the Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia)
First T20: July 10, 9.30am AEST (July 9, 7.30pm local)
Second T20: July 11, 9.30am AEST (July 10, 7.30pm local)
Third T20: July 13, 9.30am AEST (July 12, 7.30pm local)
Fourth T20: July 15, 9.30am AEST (July 14, 7.30pm local)
Fifth T20: July 17, 9.30am AEST (July 16, 7.30pm local)
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI (D/N): July 21, 4.30am AEST (July 20, 2.30pm local)
Second ODI (D/N): July 23, 4.30am AEST (July 22, 2.30pm local)
Third ODI (D/N): July 25, 4.30am AEST (July 24, 2.30pm local)
* Details of five-match T20 tour of Bangladesh are yet to be announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.