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Di Venuto named Australia batting coach
By Will Knight
20:57 AEST Fri Feb 1 2013

Nurturing Ed Cowan's talent as he rose to the top of the Test order has helped elevate Michael Di Venuto to his new role as national batting coach.

Cricket Australia on Friday appointed the 39-year-old Tasmanian, who played nine one-dayers for Australia as an aggressive left-handed opener, with a busy year ahead.

He replaces Stuart Law, who held the interim position for the past five Tests after fellow former Test batsman Justin Langer stepped down to coach Western Australia.

Di Venuto points to the development of Tasmanian batsmen Cowan and George Bailey as the highlights of his time as an assistant in Hobart over the past four-and-a-half years since his retirement from first-class cricket.

"Ed came down here as an average player from NSW and really added some steel to our batting and showed how good a player he can be," he said.

"So to see him go on and score his Test hundred a couple of months ago (against South Africa at the Gabba) was a huge achievement for all the coaching staff.

"We take great pride in that.

"And George Bailey, too, to captain the Australian one-day and Twenty20 team, it's great for us to be producing Australian players."

Di Venuto says the young crop of Test players and hopefuls such as David Warner, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja have a great chance to set up their careers over the next 12 months, especially following the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.

A four-Test tour of India starts later this month followed by 10 Ashes Tests in England and at home.

"We've got a bunch of talented players that have yet to put up their hands and say 'I really want to be a Test cricketer and I really want to play for Australia'.

"But who's to say that in five years' time that some of this group might not go down as very good Test players or greats or even legends.

"You can almost say it's like when Allan Border took over the team of the 80s when David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Dean Jones and guys like that came through.

"They went through their ups and downs, but they became Australian greats."

Di Venuto says his experience of racking up a massive 25,200 first-class runs over 336 matches for Tasmania, Derbyshire, Durham, Sussex and Italy gives him "old school" credibility.

Exposure to the Twenty20 era at the end of his career also puts him in good stead to mentor Australia's best young batsmen.

And Di Venuto added that even though he never won a baggy green cap, that wouldn't be a problem in his new role.

"I can talk from a lot of experience of scoring a lot of runs in first-class cricket," he said.

"The basics of batting are still the same but .... I'll have to rely on Michael Clarke and the senior players to talk about the pressures of Test cricket."