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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

IPL has made me a better player: Mascarenhas

Hampshire skipper credits IPL, CLT20 for the improving standard of T20 cricket

When they lifted the Friends Life t20 2012, Hampshire also gave themselves a chance to debut in the CLT20. Now they’re here in Johannesburg and as their skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas put it, they “Can’t wait to get started.”

The England domestic T20 champions will be competing in the CLT20 2012 Qualifiers and play for a berth in the main tournament. Mascarenhas, during his first media interaction ahead of the tournament, looked forward to the opportunity that his team has of playing against some of the best cricketers around.

“This is a huge tournament. And if we can get past the Qualifiers, we get a chance to compete against some of the IPL teams and the strong teams from Australia and South Africa. It’s a great opportunity and we’re very much looking forward to it,” he said.

“As cricketers we want to play in big tournaments in front of big crowds and this is just that. We didn’t do well in the four-day format this year but were good in the shorter formats. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going for the next few weeks.”

The England international, who has played for the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, credited the Indian T20 league for the improving standard of T20 cricket the world over. He also credited his growth as a cricketer to his own IPL experience.

“Having an opportunity to play in the IPL has been huge for me.  The standard of cricket is improving in the IPL and all the countries too are getting better just for that experience.

“I read a couple of interviews recently from Eoin Morgan and Shane Watson saying the IPL experience has helped them become better players. Personally, it’s made me a better player as well.

“It’s important to do well in the domestic T20 tournaments to play in tournaments like the CLT20. If we do well here, hopefully, the IPL teams will come knocking at our door as well. There are a lot of avenues that open up,” Mascarenhas said.

James Adams, the 32-year-old Hampshire batsman, echoed his captain’s words putting the importance of the CLT20 in perspective.

“For a lot of us, potentially this is the highest standard that we’ll reach in our careers,” Adams admitted. “We’ve got lot of youngsters who will push for higher achievements. But whether the path is to international cricket or IPL and CLT20, from a player’s perspective, they want to play against the best and be recognised for what they do.”

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