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England players 'desperate' to play in IPL

Dimitri Mascarenhas, the Hampshire captain, has swapped the drizzle of England for the warmth and riches of the Indian Premier League and says the rest of the England squad are desperate to follow him.

Mascarenhas has now joined up with the Rajasthan Royals for five IPL matches and is expected to make his debut in tomorrow's game against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The England all-rounder says he has attracted some envious glances from teammates this season, many of whom have been unable to compete in the event because it clashes with the county season and the Test series against New Zealand.

A number of England players, including Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have expressed a desire to be given the freedom to play in the event and Mascarenhas says they are not alone.

"The England players are desperate to play in the IPL. Next year they will all put their hands up to come and play."

The ECB are currently investigating the possibility of setting up a rival Twenty20 league, but that is unlikely to become a reality until 2010. In the meantime Mascarenhas is focusing on making his mark on the competition, before he returns to England.

"The biggest challenge for the Royals from hereon is to achieve consistent winning results," Mascarenhas added. "I can also come back for the semi-finals and final should the team get there."

Mascarenhas says he has been impressed with the Royals squad and particularly Shane Warne, his new captain.

"I have not seen all the players up close, but Warne definitely has an influence on the team. He's an inspiring guy and people listen to him," he said.

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