Rajasthan receive Mascarenhas boost
Dimitri Mascarenhas, the England and Hampshire allrounder, joined the Rajasthan Royals on Monday, and he will be available for five IPL matches before returning home on May 12.
Mascarenhas' arrival will bolster Rajasthan, who are now second in the IPL standings after three-successive victories, and he hoped that his team would be able to sustain their momentum. "The biggest challenge for the Royals from hereon is to achieve consistent winning results. The team has had an amazing run after the first game and the main objective now is to force our way into the semi-finals and then the final," Mascarenhas told the Hindu.
He said that he could return to play for the team, who are set for two back-to-back home matches, after completing his county commitments. "I can also come back for the semi-finals and final should the team get there. But the next two home games will be big for us. It's going to be tough for me to get into the team; it depends on the balance."
Mascarenhas was all praise for Shane Warne, his former captain at Hampshire, and the coach-cum-captain of Rajasthan. "I have not seen all the players up close, but Warne definitely has an influence on the team. Speaking to him last night and this morning it's obvious he has worked on the team with full intensity, got the young lads together and working as a unit. He's an inspiring guy and people listen to him."
Meanwhile, Mascarenhas, who is the only Englishman to figure in the inaugural IPL after his county gave him permission for a brief stint, said that his compatriots were keen to take part in the tournament. "The England players are desperate to play in the IPL. Next year they will all put their hands up to come and play. Everyone has watched the IPL in England and what an amazing tournament it is. I have watched all the games. The IPL is big time news in the England newspapers."
Mascarenhas has signed a three-year contract with Rajasthan for an annual fee of US$100,000 and his IPL debut could come tomorrow, when the home side take on the Kolkata Knight Riders.