G. Viswanath

Mascarenhas says it is Warne’s call

Warne runs team meetings like a class room

Jaipur: Shane Warne has to make up his mind between England’s Dimitri Mascarenhas, who has joined the Rajasthan Royals, and Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir for his team’s back to back DLF-IPL matches against Kolkata and Chennai from May Day.

Mascarenhas, Warne’s pal at Hampshire, is not among the England & Wales Cricket Board’s central contracts list and has managed to get permission from the Rose Bowl County to play five IPL matches.

Warne may opt for Mascarenhas because of his abilities as a true all-rounder and a big hitter — he clubbed Yuvraj Singh for five sixes in a one-day international last summer — as opposed to the left-arm seamer Tanvir.

Mascarenhas said it was up to Warne to take a call on his selection against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.

“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 semifinals and then the final.

“I can also come back for the semifinals 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.

“I am not an opening quick, just a medium pacer to bowl the middle sort of overs. If I get a chance I will be bowling tight and try and get a couple of wickets and hit some big runs down the order.

“There are some huge names out in the IPL and I don’t know if the spectators will come and see me in particular because of that (hitting Yuvraj for five sixes)” said the Englishman.

Mascarenhas has already chatted with Warne twice. “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.”

Affirming the England players’ view on the IPL, he said: “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.”

Warne meanwhile oversaw the fielding drills for the day when the team practiced at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Tuesday morning. With the dual responsibility of coaching and captaining the side, Warne has converted the young side from being awe-struck cricketers to inquisitive disciples.

He has led from the front and sustained his team’s winning streak — three wins in a row — after a miserable opener against the Delhi Daredevils.

The champion cricketer has dissected each and every player, given them roles and apparently told them each one is a captain.

Warne runs team meetings like a class room, identifying the rival’s strong and weak points and bowling to a plan. So far he has succeeded.

The back-to-back home will offer the first hints of his team’s capacity to make the semifinals.

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