Surrey release Michael Di Venuto from his contract early

Michael Di Venuto chats with Alec Stewart before play © PA Photos

Surrey have announced that head coach Michael Di Venuto will not be returning to the club, even if county competition is able to resume later this summer. Di Venuto, who is currently in Australia and was contracted to Surrey until March 2021, will instead be allowed to look for a new position.

Di Venuto led Surrey to the Championship title in 2018, but they fell short of a sustained title defence the following year, while also struggling in the two white-ball competitions.

He is currently at home in Tasmania – one of a number of county coaches left stranded on the other side of the world by the Covid-19 pandemic – and Surrey have taken the decision to part ways early, rather than expect Di Venuto to return to the UK for a truncated county schedule that will not begin before August at the earliest.

“I would like to thank Diva for everything he gave to the role as head coach, his excellent work, the impact he had on the club and the relationship we have enjoyed as head coach and director of cricket,” Alec Stewart said.

“Diva should feel very proud of the progress achieved since he arrived at the Kia Oval – a County Championship trophy, the number of players that have developed and earned England selection and he leaves the dressing room in a stronger position than when he arrived.”

Di Venuto was appointed Surrey head coach in 2016, following the departure of Graham Ford. He had previously worked with Cricket Australia, following a lengthy playing career that had seen him win the Championship with Durham and also turn out for Derbyshire.

As well as topping Division One two years ago – Surrey’s first Championship since 2002 – Di Venuto oversaw two appearances in the final of the Royal London Cup, as well as the promotion of a number of the club’s players to England colours, including Sam and Tom Curran, Ollie Pope, Rory Burns and Ben Foakes.

“I have loved my time as head coach of Surrey,” Di Venuto said. “Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic I haven’t had the opportunity to finish the job that I started. I take with me some wonderful memories and friendships of my time at the Kia Oval.

“With the help of the best director of cricket in the land, Alec Stewart, we put together an outstanding management team to give the players everything that they needed to help them become the best players they can be. There were plenty of ups and downs along the way but to see so many of our players develop into England cricketers and the team win the County Championship in 2018 are the obvious highlights during my time.

“The squad is in a fantastic place right now, I wish the players, management and my successor all the best this season and in the years to come.”

Surrey’s chairman, Richard Thompson, added: “We owe Diva a debt of gratitude for the huge impact he has made in the four years he has been our coach. Winning the County Championship for the first time in 16 years and helping develop more England cricketers for a generation is quite a legacy. This was clearly a very difficult decision, taken during quite exceptional times.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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