Dimitri Mascarenhas is waiting patiently for his next opportunity – after being overlooked for the head coach role at Hampshire this winter.
Speaking to The Cricket Paper from his home in Melbourne, the former Essex bowling coach said that he was waiting for the right job to come up but would be prepared to move back to England if a similar role to the one at Hampshire presented itself.
Mascarenhas left Chelmsford in December after deciding not to renew his deal with the 2017 County Champions and, after failing to land the Hampshire job, the well-travelled former England all-rounder is hoping that another chance to reassert his head coach credentials is just around the corner.
Whether that’s in Australia or further afield.
“I’m still waiting to hear on something over in England for the T20 this summer,” he says. “I loved it at Essex, I had an amazing time. They’ve got a really talented bunch of lads there, the coaching staff were great, Anthony McGrath was brilliant and I learnt a lot. I had a really good time.
“Time-wise, away from the family, it (extending his contract) just wasn’t going to work. If the right role came up then we would seriously look at moving over full-time but it would have to work for all of us.
“We would have moved over for the Hampshire role but I didn’t get that. They offered me the bowling coach role but I would have been in the same boat I was at Essex so it wouldn’t be right to have done that again.
“I love the bowling coaching stuff because you can focus more of your time on working with a smaller group of players. From that point of view I loved it, particularly when you see results over the longer term but I would love to take on a head coach role again. I had experience of it for a season when I was down in Otago and I learnt a hell of a lot in a short space of time.”
Mascarenhas has never been someone to shy away from change, with his career pitted with examples of him taking a risk to move his cricket forward, not least putting himself forward for the first edition of the IPL back in 2008, when most counties, not to mention the ECB, were staunchly opposed to losing their best players at the start of the Championship season.
That experience, though, stood the 41-year-old in the best possible stead throughout the remainder of his career and saw him lead the T20 charge of English players into franchise cricket that followed.
His mix of slower balls and intelligent variations established him as one of the most innovative bowlers in the shortest format. And although he admits that bowling in T20 can be a thankless task for those in the modern game, he also believes that bowling skills have improved as a result of competitions like the IPL.
“It was a crazy time, as a young cricketer I was desperate to try and get a piece of it,” he says. “No-one knew what to expect but it turned out to be the best T20 tournament in the world and arguably still is.
“It’s crazy how quickly time has gone. Unfortunately I was only allowed out there for two weeks (in 2008) but those two weeks changed so much for me. I was playing with and against some of the best players in the world which wasn’t something you could do back then.
“I had had a small taste of playing for England but to go over and play in India and bowl against Virender Sehwag and guys like AB de Villiers – who I got out as well! – was amazing.”
Now, 11 years on, the IPL is awash with English talent, with the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow and a fair few more plying their trade in the 11th edition of the mega-event.
In one of the biggest years in English cricket’s modern history, Mascarenhas is confident that the tournament can act as a springboard for a glorious 2019.
“It’s not just what they take out of it, it’s what they bring back as well,” he says.
“To go and play and test yourself in Indian conditions is the hardest thing you can do as a cricketer. To get that opportunity to go and play with India’s best players on Indian soil – you can’t help but learn from that. You see what they do in this situation, on these kind of wickets and against these kind of players.
“I bowled the slowest medium pace that it’s possible to bowl but I found ways of getting good batsmen out and tying them down. That’s what the IPL is all about.”
It’s unlikely to be too long before Mascarenhas is given another chance to put what he has learnt into practice.
RICHARD EDWARDS / Photo: Getty Images