Michael Di Venuto to play for Italy
Former Australian batsman Michael Di Venuto will join Geraint Jones as a former full member international playing for an Associate side at the World Twenty20 Qualifier in Dubai in March when he lines up for Italy.
Di Venuto played seven ODIs for Australia in 1997, but with the embarrassment of riches Australia had at the time, never got to add to those seven appearances, instead settling for a state cricket career with Tasmania, winning the Sheffield Shield in 2006/7, and a county career with Sussex, Derbyshire and, more recently, Durham.
He has played 46 Twenty20 matches in all, mostly in England, scoring 951 runs at an average of 23.77 with a top score of 95 not out. However he hasn't featured in Durham's Twenty20 side in either of the last two seasons.
Michael's older brother Peter played for Italy at the European Championships in 2000 and 2002, scoring 90 against Denmark in 2000 and playing in a thrilling one run win over the Netherlands in 2002.
There will be some familiar faces in Dubai for Di Venuto - he will come up against his former Durham team mate Kyle Coetzer when Italy play Scotland, and former Tasmania team mate Michael Dighton is coaching Canada at the tournament.
The Italian Rugby League team recently benefited from the experience of a former Australian international in the shape of Anthony Minichello as they qualified for that sport's World Cup, and Cricket Italia will no doubt be hoping that Michael Di Venuto can be similarly inspiring for the cricket team.
Selections like this and the selection of Geraint Jones by Papua New Guinea and the possible selection of Tim Murtagh by Ireland will raise questions about the credibility of the development program though.
Whilst Di Venuto brings a wealth of experience with him, it is only fair to ask about whether young Italian born and raised players are going to be coming through to the national side any time soon. It's a difficult subject of course - no one would wish to deny an Italian citizen the right to represent Italy - but questions do need to be asked.