Doesn't believe he will risk England career April 7, 2008

Mascarenhas happy with IPL choice

Why not me? "Other players can take part in the IPL and still play for their countries, " says Mascarenhas © Getty Images
Dimitri Mascarenhas's life has changed considerably in the couple of months since he was part of England's one-day squad in New Zealand. He has been named Hampshire captain after Shane Warne terminated his deal, but more significantly he will be the only England representative in the Indian Premier League.

His three-year deal with Jaipur came about after Warne made contact with Mascarenhas following the first round of auctions. Some hasty negotiations followed before a contract was signed, although for this season he will only be part of the IPL for two weeks in mid-May, with the possibility of returning for the final on June 1 if Jaipur make it through.

In recent weeks the ECB have been trying to convince people that England players won't be joining the IPL, a stance reiterated in some bullish comments from the chairman, Giles Clarke. However, there has been a subtle shift in attitude from some leading lights with Kevin Pietersen the most high-profile player to say that they should be given a slice of the action.

Mascarenhas has yet to find out how envious some of his England team-mates are, but being a non-centrally contracted player clearly has its advantages. It allowed him to come to a deal with Hampshire which didn't involve the ECB and he doesn't feel his international career will be jeopardised. Future seasons of the IPL could be moved to avoid conflict and Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, has already said that international commitments will take precedence.

"If you look around, all the other players can take part in the IPL and still play for their countries," he said. "I'm not missing any one-dayers or anything. I suppose there is an element of risk, but speaking to the hierarchy - Hugh Morris, Geoff Miller and Peter Moores - they are all pretty positive about it and don't see too much of a problem. They couldn't guarantee me anything, obviously they can't, but they all seemed very positive."

"I did all the negotiations with Rod [Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman] and he's been really supportive of what I want to do. He thinks it's a good opportunity for me, but also for Hampshire to be involved."

Mascarenhas is fairly relaxed about the whole affair, and thinks the experience of bowling to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and facing Brett Lee will be benefit his game, even though he has little idea of what to expect when he arrives next month.

"Because I got in late I literally don't know anything about it," he said. "All I know is the dates, I don't know where I'm going to be. I'll just meet up with Warney and the rest of the team when I get there. I'll be getting some good cricket, playing with and against world-class players. I can't see why more won't do it in the future."

Hampshire, though, will have to do without their captain for two weeks while Mascarenhas is away. "At the time I signed I didn't know the captaincy situation would come up, but there are a couple of guys lined up who could take over," he said.

One name suggested by Mascarenhas as a stand-in was Nic Pothas. He has spent parts of his winter with the Indian Cricket League (ICL), the unofficial event which has caused the ECB more headaches even though it hardly clashes with the domestic season. Hampshire, too, were unimpressed when Pothas took up his ICL deal, but clubs are having to find pragmatic solutions as cricket's changing face makes an impact on English shores.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo