FORMER Hampshire colleagues Glenn Maxwell and Dimi Mascarenhas are preparing to take part in the sixth edition of the most lucrative cricket competition on earth.
The Indian Premier League, which starts tomorrow, has revolutionised the game in many respects since Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals won the first tournament in 2008.
Now major international tours are scheduled around the Indian Premier League, which gives international cricketers huge financial benefits.
None more so than Maxwell thisyear.
In April 2012 he was preparing to play for Salisbury-based South Wilts in the Southern Electric Premier League.
Now, helped by a successful spell with Hampshire in the English t20, he has appeared for Australia’s international side in all three forms of the game.
As a result of his big hitting and spin bowling exploits, Mumbai Indians splashed out $1m to sign him in February’s IPL auction.
Maxwell is part of a major Australian-led revamp at Mumbai.
The franchise also recently paid $450,000 to sign little known Western Australia fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, $100,000 on batsman Phillip Hughes – another former Hampshire player – and Ricky Ponting for his base price of $400,000.
Ponting, fresh from helping George Bailey’s Tasmania to the Sheffield Shield title in Australia, will captain Mumbai.
Mumbai certainly have the experience to land the IPL title.
Apart from Ponting they boast Sachin Tendulkar, while the ultra experienced pair of Anil Kumble and John Wright are on the coaching staff.
Maxwell’s $1m signing equates to around £670,000 in English money – and the player gets all the money.
As Mascarenhas was a $100,000 signing by the Kings XI Punjab two years ago, he will bank a tenth of Maxwell’s paycheque – around £67,000.
Mascarenhas flew to India this week on the back of playing for Australian grade cricket club Prahran last weekend.
A groin injury restricted him to bowling just 11 balls as his club were thrashed by Ringwood in the semi finals of the Victorian First Grade competition.
But the injury is nothing serious and Mascarenhas will be fit for selection for Punjab’s first IPL game this coming weekend against Pune Warriors.
Mascarenhas was the first English-qualified player to appear in the IPL when he made his debut for Rajasthan in 2008.
He appeared in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Rajasthan, and made his Punjab debut last year.
Of his four outings in 2012, the undoubted highlight was bagging 5-25 against Pune Warriors.
That was Mascarenhas’ second best t20 bowling figures after his 5-14 haul for Hampshire against Sussex at Hove in 2004, which included a hat-trick.
With 135 wickets, Mascarenhas is the 15th highest-taking wicket-taker in t20 history. He is the highest English-qualified bowler in the list – though still a far way behind leader Alfonso Thomas (211 wickets).
Mascarenhas is one of only three English-qualified players appearing in the competition.
Sussex’s big-hitting all-rounder Luke Wright will be playing for Pune Warriors for the second year running.
And batsman Owais Shah is turning out for Rajasthan.
Mascarenhas’ former Ageas Bowl colleague Kevin Pietersen had been due to play for the Delhi Daredevils, but was ruled out by injury last month.
England pair Alex Hales and Michael Lumb – the latter another of Mascarenhas’ ex-Hampshire team-mates – would surely have won IPL contracts.
But Nottinghamshire told the pair, plus county colleague Samit Patel, that they wouldn’t be allowed to play due to the amount of county games they could miss.
For example, Mascarenhas will miss Hampshire’s first five Championship games of 2013 if Punjab go all the way to the final. That’s almost a third of the county’s entire First Class campaign!