Mascarenhas keen on England Twenty20 captaincy
Dimitri Mascarenhas, the Hampshire allrounder, will attempt to channel the tactical nous and general hubris of Shane Warne if elevated to the role of England Twenty20 captain. Mascarenhas credits Warne, his captain and mentor at the Rose Bowl and Rajasthan, as a source of inspiration and will apply the Australian legspinner's leadership philosophies to the England Twenty20 side if given the opportunity.
"He's the best captain I've played with or ever seen in my whole life," Mascarenhas told Cricinfo. "He's an amazing captain. How can I not learn some brilliant stuff off him? I would definitely take that into the England set-up. I'd obviously do it my own way and it might be a little bit different to what we have seen in the past but maybe that's a good thing. We'll have to wait and see who gets the job first."
Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff and Paul Collingwood may have expressed reluctance, but Mascarenhas would have no such qualms in accepting the England captaincy. Mascarenhas has emerged as a strong candidate to lead England during the forthcoming World Twenty20 tournament and, unlike his higher-profile team-mates, has embraced the possibility.
Mascarenhas and Rob Key were installed as early favourites to assume the Twenty20 captaincy after Andrew Strauss's surprise decision not to nominate for selection. Key, who has not represented England at the elite level since 2005, responded guardedly when asked his thoughts on the Twenty20 captaincy last week. Mascarenhas, conversely, was positively buoyant.
"If it happened it would be amazing and I'd absolutely love that," he said. "I haven't heard a lot of late, just a few snippets in the papers and stuff, and people have been telling me that they were saying it's my chance to be England captain. It's nice that people would write that sort of stuff about me, it's brilliant.
"Obviously a few people have turned it down so we'll just have to wait and see. If the opportunity came up I'd love to do it. It would be a bit of a risk, I suppose, to make me captain, I've only been around a little bit but who knows. I think I'd do a great job."
Mascarenhas took the helm at Hampshire when Warne opted not to complete his deal with the county last season, but believes his limited captaincy experience should not count against him. "I've had a year in the job now at Hampshire, I did all forms of cricket, I thoroughly enjoyed it and we had a lot of success as well," he said. "So from that point of view that made me very happy and the boys really got behind me. They thought I was a good leader and that I lead from the front."
Even if he is overlooked for the England Twenty20 captaincy, Mascarenhas is virtually assured of a place in the final 15-man squad, which should be named later this month. While many of his county colleagues are aiming to impress in the chill and damp of early-season England, Mascarenhas has the chance to showcase his skills in the high-intensity arena of the IPL.
"It's a great opportunity for me to perform, do well and get noticed," he said. "It's the world stage, I know it's a bit different from playing for England, but if you perform here people take notice. Hopefully if I can put in a few good performances which will put me in good stead and when I get back hopefully I get selected in the World Cup side."
Mascarenhas' IPL spell was limited to a single appearance last year, but after Shane Watson's call-up to the Australia one-day squad for the ODI series against Pakistan, he is confident of an extended run this time around. He has already received a taste of the IPL experience in South Africa during an open-top bus tour through Cape Town on Thursday; a pre-cursor to Saturday's opening ceremony.
"I wasn't sure how many people would turn up, but there was a good crowd," he said. "We have a great bunch of lads and obviously it's going to be a lot tougher this year to go back-to-back, but the boys are in good spirits and it's a massive game for us against Bangalore on Saturday."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo