Mascarenhas urges England to gamble on Briggs in World T20

 

Dimitri Mascarenhas used his platform as winning captain as Hampshire won the 10th edition of England's Twenty20 Cup to urge the national selectors to give Danny Briggs the opportunity to help defend the ICC World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka next month.

Briggs, the 21-year-old left-arm spinner, joined Middlesex's Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright of Sussex as the only members of the 15-man England squad selected for the tournament to have won their own domestic competition when Hampshire beat Yorkshire by 12 runs in Cardiff on Saturday.

He has taken 60 Twenty20 wickets in three seasons for Hampshire, including a county record 31 when the county won the Twenty20 Cup in 2010, and while his statistics have not been so impressive this season his performance in the final was key to Hampshire emerging on top for the second time in three years.

Yorkshire had started badly in the attempt to chase a target of 151 to become champions on their first appearance at finals day but a blistering innings by their South African batsman David Miller threatened to snatch victory.

Choosing the final to produce the innings of the day, Miller smashed five sixes in as many overs, including three in four balls off seamer Sean Ervine, as Yorkshire, who had managed only 49 runs in the first 10 overs, arrived at the last four needing only another 46.

Yet Briggs produced two brilliant overs one after the other to arrest Miller's progress, and 14 off the last over – this one bowled nervelessly by a young Hampshire bowler, the 22-year-old left-arm seamer Chris Wood – ultimately proved beyond Yorkshire, who lost three wickets and scored only three runs off the final six deliveries.

Earlier, Briggs had snared the key wicket of his England squad colleague Jonny Bairstow, whom he dismissed for just three runs with a beautifully flighted spinning ball that took the outside edge and had him caught behind. Bairstow had been Yorkshire's semi-final match-winner against Sussex with a superb unbeaten 68.

Briggs has played in one 50-overs match for England, against Pakistan in Dubai last February, but has yet to represent them above Lions level in Twenty20. Mascarenhas thinks England should now have the confidence to give him a chance on the turning pitches in Sri Lanka.

"I know his stats this year don't tell a great tale – I think he has improved," Mascarenhas said. "Those wickets in Sri Lanka will suit the spinners. Danny is not a great turner but he only needs to turn it a little bit with his variations of pace and the way he gets his yorkers in. I think he'll be a huge asset.

"Whether they pick him straight away is one for the selectors but if he gets the chance he will do very well.

"What sets him apart is the intelligence he bowls with. In his head, he is well ahead of his time. If you like, he is a 40-year-old in a 21-year-old's body in terms of knowledge.

"He knows batters, knows how to bowl to different batters and he backs himself to perform even under pressure, as you saw with the overs he bowled this evening.

"Miller played very well. You might say that it is a short straight hit on this ground but they weren't small sixes that he was hitting; they were going out of the ground.

"It is hard to contain hitting like that be we knew they were always behind the rate and that a couple of good overs was all we needed and Danny gave us two of them."

Bairstow's form is the other fillip England can take from the day, especially if the discord between themselves and Kevin Pietersen is not resolved. The Yorkshire batsman had a shaky debut Test series against West Indies earlier this summer but appeared to answer questions raised over his temperament with a fine performance when recalled – in place of Pietersen – for the final Test against South Africa.

Having failed by only five runs to put his name on the honours board with a Test century in the match at Lord's, he followed up with 54 off only 47 balls as England made a gallant attempt to chase down an unlikely victory target.

His 68 against Sussex on Saturday, when he shared an 82-run stand with Miller, was more evidence that he can thrive on the big stage. "He is in the form of his life and playing brilliantly under pressure, as we have seen in the last couple of weeks," the Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale, said.

Mascarenhas revealed afterwards that he had played in the semi-final and final despite the pain of a torn shoulder tendon, although it is debatable whether his physical discomfort was on a par with the anguish being clearly borne by the Somerset captain, Marcus Trescothick, whose side's semi-final defeat by Hampshire came after three consecutive losing appearances in the final.

"It is dreadful," Trescothick said. "There is so much time and effort goes in, so much dedication and practice. At the moment we are not quite achieving what we know we can. At some point we will get it right, I'm sure."

Facts in figures

60 Jonny Bairstow's top T20 score for England, v Pakistan

45.50 Bairstow's international T20 average, from seven matches

60 Twenty20 county wickets for Briggs, in 53 matches

1 Five-wicket Twenty20 haul taken by Briggs

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea