West Indies v Australia T20Is - Men's
Australian batting guru returns for winter tours
Former Australia and Tasmania opener Michael Di Venuto returns to the national side as an assistant coach for the tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh
Adam Burnett in Brisbane
9 June 2021, 02:47 PM AEST
Former Australia batsman and experienced mentor Michael Di Venuto will reprise his role as one of Australia's assistant coaches for the upcoming white-ball tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh.
Di Venuto, a renowned batting guru credited with helping Steve Smith on his path to greatness, returns to the national side having been its batting coach from 2013 to 2016.
At this stage, the 47-year-old will be with the side for the West Indies and Bangladesh tours only, but the specified positions of batting coach and fielding coach are both up for grabs ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup and Ashes later this year.
Regular assistant coach Andrew McDonald as well as Andre Borovec, an assistant with Victoria's men's team, will also join Di Venuto under head coach Justin Langer for the winter tours.
The role of batting coach with the national men’s team has gone unmanned since Graeme Hick was made redundant by Cricket Australia (CA) as part of COVID-19 cost-cutting last year.
A recent ESPN report said a CA review into the subsequent Test series defeat at home to India found the absence of the position to have been a costly one, with only superstar pair Smith and Marnus Labuschagne among the series' six leading run-scorers.
The role of specialist fielding coach was last filled by Brad Haddin in 2019, while the likes of Matthew Mott (the national women's team coach) and Wade Seccombe (Queensland men) joined Langer's coaching stuff at times during last summer.
Di Venuto is held in high regard for both his technical and mental acuity by a host of his former charges, none more so than Smith, whose career was transformed under the Tasmanian's watchful eye.
When he won his first Allan Border Medal in 2015, Smith called out Di Venuto's suggestion that "you're not out of form – you're just out of runs" as the timely wisdom he needed ahead of the third Ashes Test the previous summer, where he went on to make his second Test hundred and begin a run that would propel him to greatness.
The phrase, which Di Venuto cited as nothing more than a "bluff" he used to convince himself runs weren't far away during his own playing career, became an oft-repeated one in Australian cricket long after the nine-time ODI representative had left his position to take up the head coach role with Surrey.
"That (advice) kind of made me stop thinking about my batting and let my natural instincts and natural flair take over, and since then it's been smooth sailing," Smith later said.
"'Diva' (Di Venuto) has been absolutely fantastic for not only me but I think all of our batters.
"His knowledge and experiences in the game are second to none, he's got so much experience to share with us, he throws an endless amount of balls to us at training. I think the advice he gives is outstanding as well."
Di Venuto left his role at Surrey last year and worked as an assistant with Tasmania and the Hobart Hurricanes last summer.
He has returned to an Australian squad that looks vastly different to the one he left five years ago, as the presence of young KFC BBL stars Tanveer Sangha and Wes Agar at a training camp in Brisbane today reinforced.
McDonald is not able to be in Brisbane for the camp due to the lockdown in his home city of Melbourne, with he and Borovec set to join the squad in Brisbane ahead of their chartered flight to the Caribbean later this month.
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa (squad to be trimmed before departure)
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
Second T20: July 10, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 7.30pm (July 11 9.30am AEST)
Third T20: July 12, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 7.30pm (July 13, 9.30am AEST)
Fourth T20: July 14, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 7.30pm (July 15, 9.30am AEST)
Fifth T20: July 16, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 7.30pm (July 17, 9.30am AEST)
First ODI: July 20, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 2.30pm D/N (July 21, 4.30am AEST)
Second ODI: July 22, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 2.30pm D/N (July 23, 4.30am AEST)
Third ODI: July 24, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 2.30pm D/N (July 25, 4.30am AEST)