Dimi Mascarenhas rode back into Hampshire and vowed: I’m here to make an impact.
The 35-year-old all-rounder has returned early from his stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is expected to go straight into the Royals side for tomorrow’s Yorkshire Bank 40 clash with Durham Dynamos at the Ageas Bowl.
Having become frustrated after being forced to kick his heels for the Kings XI Punjab in this year’s IPL, Mascarenhas cut his stay short and headed back to Hampshire having made just one appearance.
But now he’s eager to make up for lost time and link up with his Hampshire team-mates once again.
Mascarenhas said: ‘I’m ready to play – but I’ve been ready to play for six weeks!
‘It was pretty frustrating but that’s the way it goes.
‘Nets are nets so it would be good to get out there on the field to play with the boys again.
‘I want to contribute and make an impact again.
‘This year, I went out to the IPL with no expectations. I know what happened last year.
‘You can perform and still get left out, so if that happens, you just go and enjoy it.
‘I enjoyed being out there with the other blokes.
‘I was still learning from them out there, I trained hard in the nets and did a lot of batting and bowling in those conditions.
‘I feel like I’m bowling beautifully, so I’m very much looking forward to the one-dayers and the t20s.
‘But I wasn’t playing. I only played one game in the time I was out there so I thought it was best to come back early.
‘I’m not getting any younger and I just want to play cricket at this stage of my career.’
After discussions with Kings XI coach Darren Lehmann, Mascarenhas had no hesitations in heading back, even though his side are still involved in the competition.
He said: ‘I’m not someone who talks to the management and says “I want to be doing this or that”.
‘They are running the show, so I just do what I’m told. But it wasn’t difficult to come back early.
‘Darren Lehmann knows we lose money if we are not here playing.
‘He told me it was unlikely I would play, so he left the decision up to me.
‘He told me I was very welcome to stay and he wanted me to stay but understood if I wanted to go home.
‘So I decided to go home.’
Mascarenhas, who missed the tail end of last season with a shoulder problem, also insisted he is back to full fitness and raring to go.
He said: ‘The shoulder was gone at the end of last season.
‘But it’s all good again now. I’ve had six months of rehab and I’m feeling good.’