Extra Cover: Wraps are coming off Mascarenhas

Man in the Middle Dimitri Mascarenhas (Hampshire)
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The Independent Online
IF YOU attempted to peel away the layers from Dimitri Mascarenhas early in the season it would probably take you longer than you might think. He may have been born in Hammersmith 20 years ago, but his Sri Lankan parents, Malik and Pauline, emigrated to Australia soon after and young Dimmy was brought up in a land of seemingly endless sunshine. When he first arrived in Hampshire two years ago it was something of a culture shock.

"The thing I miss most when I am over here is the weather," confesses Mascarenhas. "I hate the cold. I really struggle in it. The first couple of months this season was just a nightmare for me. April and May were just the worst. I couldn't stand it. I just didn't feel like doing anything at all.

"I wear loads of layers over here. I had a T-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a thin sweater, a short-sleeved sweater and a long-sleeved sweater, and I wore them all the time until the end of May. And under my trousers I wore thermal cycle shorts. And I still felt cold."

Mascarenhas is an engaging person, wrapped up in cricket, golf and Aussie Rules. He comes from the laid-back school, similar in many ways to his good friend Ben Hollioake, the pair having played for the same club Melville, in Perth at one time. The all-rounder has a sunny disposition and adopts the same approach with his batting.

His brilliant innings, though only a modest 29 in Hampshire's annihilation of Middlesex last week in the NatWest Trophy occupied just a dozen balls in which he hit a couple of sixes and three fours. "I like to play my natural game with the bat," he said. "If the ball is there to hit I will try to hit it. If it doesn't come off, so be it."

His bowling is different. You sense that he takes that a little more seriously. "I regard myself as an all-rounder," says Mascarenhas, who has ambitions of playing for England. "Well, I think I am getting there, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Since I joined Hampshire, Malcolm Marshall, Tim Tremlett and Cardigan Connor have all helped me with my bowling. I think I am more consistent now, bowling a better line and length and I am also a lot stronger."

He has been taking wickets and getting runs. He may feel the cold, but Hampshire have a hot property coming through.

ECHOES OF THE PAST

DAVID LLOYD AND MICHAEL ATHERTON

What can they possibly have in common?

For a start they are both opening batsmen.

So are a lot of other people.

Yes, but they have both opened the innings for Lancashire and for England.

But wasn't Lloyd a left-handed batsman, whereas Atherton, surely, is right-handed?

Funny you should mention that. Yes that is so. But both men portray the same character. They are kindred spirits. And they are inextricably linked by a number of factors. Professionally Lloyd is England coach. They were born in Lancashire and they are firm friends. They go fly fishing together.

Right. That's interesting. But I thought Lloyd was undone by a woman... someone called Lillian Thomson. Wasn't that so?

A very good effort. Unfortunately it was not a woman at all, but rather two men.

What, a transsexual schizophrenic?

No, no, no! It was Lillee and Thomson, Dennis and Jeff respectively, the Australian fast bowling duo. Back in 1974 Lloyd was a fresh-faced stripling who has already made his mark in Test cricket with a double hundred against India that summer. England, led by Mike Denness, travelled Down Under and were given the mother and father of a blasting by Lillee and Thomson. Lloyd played in the last four of the five-Test series and unfortunately did not cut the mustard.

So did Lloyd have an enduring Test career?

Not quite.

How many Tests did he play, then?

Just the nine.

Whereas Atherton has played more than 80.

Precisely. But they have fast bowling in common. whereas Lillee and Thomson proved too much for "Bumble" Lloyd, wrecking his confidence and his career, Atherton positively thrives on the stuff and the more they send down at him the better he likes it.

And what exactly did England miss by not picking Lloyd again?

A brave close fielder. An attractive left-handed batsman with an ideal temperament, who could bat down the order and used his feet well against spin. He eventually became an umpire for a season before turning to coaching and the development of the game in schools.

Will Atherton follow suit after his Test career?

Unlikely. He has his sights set on a career in the media. And it also most improbable that he will follow Lloyd on to the after dinner speaking circuit, where the England coach is an absolute wow.

Leicestershire ready to move

The Week Ahead

LEICESTERSHIRE look ready to make a serious move for the Championship leadership this week. Somerset visit them at Grace Road and, despite the fact that Peter Bowler's side have undergone something of a resurgence of late, they do not look to have the wherewithal to stop what is turning out to be one of the best all-round teams of the season.

And with Leicestershire's closest rivals, Gloucestershire and Lancashire doing battle at Old Trafford there will have been a definitive sorting out by the end of this particular round of matches. Surrey begin their Championship match a day late and there is a little doubt that they will want revenge for the humiliation of their NatWest exit at the hands of Dominic Cork's men last week.

Of course a crucial factor in all three fixtures is the absence of the England players. Cork will be missing for Derbyshire, Alec Stewart Ian Salisbury and Mark Butcher for Surrey. And, of course, Graham Thorpe is out of the picture following his back operation. Lancashire will be without Mike Atherton and Leicestershire minus Alan Mullally.

At the other end of the table Essex entertain Glamorgan hoping to end a sequence of two defeats in the last two seasons. Middlesex and Warwickshire will be able to cry on each other's shoulders. The two troubled clubs clash at Lord's and will continue the struggle to shake off mid-table anonymity.

INS AND OUTS

HIGH ROLLERS

Loye (Northamptonshire) 322*

Gatting (Middlesex) 241

Langer (Middlesex) 233*

James (Glamorgan) 227

Ripley (Northamptonshire) 209

Fulton (Kent) 207

Hooper (Kent) 203

Habib (Leicestershire) 198

Knight (Warwickshire) 192

Slater (Derbyshire) 185

NERVOUS NINETIES

Leatherdale (Worcestershire) 99

Lehmann (Yorkshire) 99

Maynard (Glamorgan) 99

Trescothick (Somerset) 98

Langer (Middlesex) 97

K Newell (Sussex) 97

Stewart (Surrey) 97

Bevan (Sussex) 96

Cottey (Glamorgan) 96

Fulton (Kent) 96

Peirce (Sussex) 96

RUN MACHINES

(Most individual centuries)

Hick (Worcestershire) 6

Langer (Middlesex) 5

Crawley (Lancashire) 5

Adams (Sussex) 4

Hooper (Kent) 4

Knight (Warwickshire) 4

Loye (Northamptonshire) 4

Lehmann (Yorkshire) 4

Maddy (Leicestershire) 4

DUCK HUNTERS

Betts (Durham) 9

Stephenson (Hampshire) 7 Maddy (Leicestershire) 7

White (Hampshire) 7

Robinson (Essex) 6

Robinson (Sussex) 6

Rose (Northamptonshire) 6

Shah (Middlesex) 6

Smith (Warwickshire) 6

Atherton (Lancashire) 5

HITTING THE STUMPS

Walsh (Gloucestershire) 28

Giddins (Warwickshire) 26

Betts (Durham) 20

Giles (Warwickshire) 20

Lewry (Sussex) 20

Caddick (Somerset) 19

Thomas (Glamorgan) 19

Mullally (Leicestershire) 19

Wasim Akram (Lancashire) 18

Fleming (Kent) 17

TOP GLOVES

Blakey (Yorkshire) 65

Russell (Gloucestershire) 59

Speight (Durham) 59

Nixon (Leicestershire) 57

Aymes (Hampshire) 48

Brown (Middlesex) 46

Stewart (Surrey) 45

Rhodes (Worcestershire) 44

Hegg (Lancashire) 41

Marsh (Kent) 41

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