Di Venuto defends Aussie Test team culture

Former Australia batting coach Michael Di Venuto has defended the culture of the Test team and wants administrators to come under similar scrutiny to the players following the ball tampering scandal.

Di Venuto spent three years working under former coach Darren Lehmann before joining English side Surrey in 2016 and remains close to his former boss and banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner.

The former Tasmania opener believes the superstar pair and Cameron Bancroft have endured savage character assassination in the wake of the incident in South Africa which has led to a cultural review of the team being conducted by Cricket Australia

“I didn’t think there was any cultural issues during my involvement with the Australian team,” Di Venuto said.

“We had some good success with Ashes wins and the World Cup. I loved being a coach under Darren Lehmann and I love the culture he created.

“And the players loved the environment as well.

“Obviously with the events that have happened recently, all of a sudden people are blaming culture and things like that.”

The four-man review panel will be chaired by former Test batsman Rick McCosker with the results to be revealed before the team head to England for an ODI series in June.

Cricket Australia’s #beatengland social media campaign during the Ashes, in addition to a 4-0 podium used to celebrate the series win, were widely criticised and Di Venuto hinted it resulted in mixed messages being sent out to the team from the governing body.

“Take it back a couple of months when we won the Ashes. There wasn’t too many people complaining about anything then,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see what comes out of this culture stuff that is going on in Australian cricket..

“Hopefully they start from the top and work their way down to the team.”

Di Venuto said he found the emotional press conferences of Warner, Smith and Bancroft after they had been sent home from South Africa difficult to watch and said the savage reaction from sections of the media was over the top.

“The events (in South Africa) weren’t good for Australian cricket and disappointing and sad,” he said.

“I am disappointed for all three. One, because what they did, and two because of what went on afterwards and what they’ve been through.

“They are quality people who I have spent a lot of time with. It was tough to watch and see them treated as criminals for something that goes on in sport.

“What they tried to do was pretty dumb.

“Pulling sandpaper out of your pocket with 40 cameras on you floating around and thinking it’s not going to get picked up is not smart.

“But they have suffered enough and accepted the consequences and copped it on the chin and fair play to them.

“Now just leave them alone and let them get on with their lives.”

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